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A daily record of what I'm thinking about what I'm reading

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Saturday, July 4, 2015

The true social structure of Conrad's Nostromo

The pseudo-French journalist Decoup (?) declares his love for Antonia whose father a former diplomat who was held in captivity by the previous tyrannical regime and is now a senior adviser to the Gould San Remo silver mine but Decoup knows his fate is tenuous as he has written contemptuously about the new rebel faction the Montero brothers. So he has much at stake as the ragtag army commanded by a drunken general departs from the coastal city to do battle. In next chapter in Conrad's Nostromo Decoup picks up the rumor that the Monteros are already victorious so he know his life is in danger and we have no idea how or whether he will survive. He tells all this to mrs Gould who is particularly concerned because her husband Charles the next day will escort the latest shipment of silver bullion and it's crucial to the survival of the country. So we see more and more what the ideals are behind all these so-called patriots of Costaguana: rape the country of its mineral wealth, ship the wealth north to the U.S. to secure the credit of a very few elite, mostly European, business leaders, and support a government of "stability," that is, one that will protect the wealth of the few while bringing little or no prosperity to the many. (It's unclear to me where Conrad stands on all of this.) The wealthy also must rely upon the guile and the muscle of a class of European immigrants to protect their wealth and their interests - most notably the title character, Nostromo, who gets things done as the head of the caragadores (?), the equivalent of the contemporary head of the Teamsters union - not liked, not welcomed, but respected and necessary.

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