The Story of an African Farm

I’m reading The Story of an African Farm again–what a delightful, strange, and delightfully strange novel.  I’m thinking especially of the role of the one and the many in the novel, and Lyndall’s account of Napoleon:

“He was their master, and all the people were white with fear of him. They joined together to fight him. He was one and they were many, and they got him down at last . . . He was one man, and they were many, and they were terrified at him. It was glorious” (14)!

The image of whiteness is important here, given the novel’s implicit racism (the many, in the novel, are the African people that appear in the background).  But also, I think this musing reflects on how the relationship between the one and the many shifts between realism and naturalism.  Perhaps, to be one, in naturalism, is to be beaten down while, to be one, in realism, is to be glorious.

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