A Savage Civilization

From “Violence and Recognition in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence” (my friend showed me this article he’s reading for another class and I thought the quote applied perfectly to Heart of Darkness, though it discusses a classic western):

“It seems to me that what he [one of the characters in the movie] has trouble recognizing, and what the film suggests invariably goes unrecognized, is a more general claim about violence: that “civilization” defeats the “savage” by becoming like the “savage,” which is to say that the violence that founds “civilization” is one that at the same time problematizes the whole distinction between “civilization” and its Other, and problematizes the whole justification for its existence. “Civilization” cannot recognize this, for to do so would mean no longer recognizing itself.”

Something to think about as we read!


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