my recent reading of the poisonwood bible definitely enhanced my reading of this book (for context) because it talks about nearly the same situation - white colonization of the congo, and the ravaging of the land and people by the whites, as well as their lack of understanding of the native people. i had to keep in mind while reading, that it was written in 1899 and it's not fair to judge a writer by today's standards for social justice. i recognize that it might be easier for me to say that as a white person, i can somehow justify the use of the n word in this book. but i also wonder at his purpose for his depiction of the native people, if he was drawing attention to the injustice or perpetuating it. it certainly seems that his intention is to show the destruction of the land and people. i'm just not sure if he does this from a place of true understanding of the congolese or not. he does say "The conquest of the earth, which mostly means the taking it away from those who have a different complexion or slightly flatter noses than ourselves, is not a pretty thing when you look into it too much." for me, though, the writing was a bit dense and hard to get through, with awkward sentence structure, but at the same time the language was fantastic. in retrospect i actually wish i'd read this book aloud. it's so short that it's possible to do this, and i think the language comes through better that way.my favorite 2 quotes, one for content and one for language:"'I don't like work - no man does - but I like what is in the work, - the chance to find yourself. Your own reality - for yourself, not for others - what no other man can ever know.'""'The sun was low; and leaning forward side by side, they seemed to be tugging painfully uphill their two ridiculous shadows of unequal length, that trailed behind them slowly over the tall grass without bending a single blade.'"