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Essay On The Myth Of Africa By Hammond And Jablow - With A Free Essay Review



The Myth of Africa by Dorothy Hammond and Alta Jablow is one myth that shouldn’t be amplified nor continued. Myth is an unproven fictitious collective belief that is used to justify a social institution. Like so, is how we summarize the influence of colonialism in Africa. From Britain’s first contact in the mid 16th century, such as from the first few voyages recorded in the 1530. These voyages predominantly focused on the commerce of fair trade; hence slowly as greed became a major factor that resulted in unequal trade.

From the first writings we see no interest in associating with the African people. Minor experiences with Africans, such as “Eden’s account of the voyage captained by John Lok in 1561” (Hammond & Jablow, 19) convey the disconnection. Eden’s writing concurred to that of other writers “Negroes, a people of beastly living, without a God, lawe, religion, or common wealth” (20). They did not try to comprehend past what they saw; their trade procedure and profits were their top priorities. They exchanged copper for gold; this allowed them to obtain immense profit back to England. Al though the Africans were strange people they were essential to the British. African trading partners were portrayed as savage but eager in commerce; shrewd traders, sharp judgment and respected. They would use weights and measures to engage in commerce (20).

Britain’s’ Focus on the environment of trade for example places and resources did not allow them to appreciate the African way of life. As time progressed the continent was viewed as the Whiteman’s grave since the voyages were long and exposed to different climates disease and sickness that exterminated British travelers. An ocular image the authors give in Chapter 6: The Dark Labyrinth give us a visual as to how Africa, which also gives an understanding of the concept White Mans Grave. The dark labyrinth is symbolic of the forest and the swamps and how no sunlight hits the ground of African territory. Since the environment wasn’t what the British were accustomed to they wrote about it in a negative way.

British dependence on Africa to continue being a supreme power embarked the British on a different path. In order to regain their lost men they began trading for slaves in the 1560’s. African traders acted as the middlemen, which gave them the upper hand. They were able to control British expansion and power at the coast as they continued providing them slaves. The treaty of Utrecht allowed British for peaceful slave trade from other European states, which sustained their African connection (22).

Eighteenth-century writings changed from pure commerce to judgmental ones regarding Africans. It’s tantalizing how Hammond and Jablow show us the smooth ideology born and developing towards a unique point of view strictly from the British. In order to characterize themselves as proper they made excuses as to why enslavement was necessary. They’re ultimate defense was because it served as the salvation of Africans from Africa, The Dark Continent (23). David Livingston wrote from an objective point of view unlike other writers who just jumped on the bandwagon. He believed Africans were “a strange mixture of good and evil as men are everywhere else” (43). Oroonoko by Aphra Behn turned from a literary work into propaganda against the typical ideology, which gave height to the questioning of slavery and its motives.

According to Burton “Both child and African were ignorant, impulsive, irresponsible, and without powers of reason” (63). This supported that British governing was needed to organize African societies to progress and be efficient for themselves. The British extremely believed that African wealth should be exploited and belong to the British for the well being of its people. The fall of Great Britain’s imperial rule led them to newer doctrines besides that of British superiority. They however never managed to incept equality “The British still find themselves at the top of the evolutionary ladder” (122).

As explained by Hammond and Jablow, the British self-image is a one sided page, where “Africa is everything the British are not” (183). As a result we get evaluation only from the British and how they explain their own point of view. British believe that only boys going to English public schools can become gentlemen; including any author who wrote in favor of British ideology was considered gentlemen. Without any questioning of writings that they expressed on paper. The British believed this so much that they applied it to babies and Africans. They believed that in order to one day become gentlemen they need to be treated harsh and with punishment and led by someone who was a gentlemen because they cannot discipline themselves. They were punished for their own good. English ethos tends to devalue women extending their views towards African women. In such an ideology women can only be objects of lust, mothers and domestic servants. The British racist writings lack awareness, which makes it even more ignorant. This all would create a hostile crowd with a new wave of nonwhites, and therefore expressing discrimination and racial acts against nonwhites. Hammond and jablow explain how four centuries of writings on Africa do not justly convey Africans but British comprehension of them.

Hammond and Jablow express in their study the same persuasive ideas British had during that time. Hence allowing us to reflect and turn to our conscience side beyond all this mythological literature to understand the real Africa and its potential. Like the British, Hitler also managed to persuade Germans into believing in the extreme idea of white supremacy.

This lack of knowledge is what allows for such individuals to manipulate people to believe something that doesn’t exist.

The amount of knowledge that The Myth of Africa contains is just the tip of the iceberg. The best feedback we can give back to the authors is to recommend the book so everyone can come into the light about the facts of colonialism and its influence on the world. Which lead us to the correct communication and explanation of colonialism power. We must change the tone of our voice and strongly express facts about Africa and the African people.

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ESSAY REVIEW

The most serious problem with the essay is the number of language errors. This is a serious problem because it significantly impacts the intelligibility of your writing. I can only guess what your third sentence is intended to mean, for instance. The fourth sentence is really just a meaningless fragment of a sentence. I don't understand the second part of the fifth sentence at all. And the problems continue like that throughout. It is therefore difficult for me to provide a meaningful review of the content of the essay. I take it that you are reviewing a book called "The Myth of Africa" and that the myth discussed in the book is a set of beliefs about Africa that were articulated in connection with Britain's exploration and exploitation of Africa. I needed to read the whole essay in order to come to that understanding of its purpose, whereas an essay like this really ought to make its purpose and, if it has one, its argument, clear from the beginning. Moreover, while many times you do clarify that a particular claim is one that is expressed by the authors of the book, your essay doesn't always make it entirely clear whether you are reporting claims made by Hammond and Jablow, or whether you are making those claims yourself.

Your essay for the most part seems to be summarizing what you take (I assume) to be the main arguments of The Myth of Africa. The problem with this approach is that it makes the subject of the book (false representations of Africa and Africans by British writers) rather than the book itself the focus of your essay. That's a problem, at least, if your purpose really is to review the book, and of course I am not completely sure that that is the purpose. If it is, I think you need to reconsider your approach. A review ought to explain from the beginning what the authors set out to demonstrate (i.e., identify the major thesis of the book) and then explain how they go about trying to demonstrate it (i.e., identify the evidence that the authors produce and explain how they use that evidence to prove their thesis). A good review would also try to identify any problems (missing evidence, contradictory evidence, flawed reasoning) with the book, if there are any, although that may be beyond the scope of your essay. In any case, here's a brief summary of things you ought to do:

1. Improve the clarity of your writing: Proofread carefully to avoid basic grammatical and typographical errors (for instance, you know the difference between "their" and "they're," so there is no need for errors of that kind). Identify and correct sentence fragments. Use a dictionary to make sure you have no word-choice errors. Learn the basic rules of punctuation and apply them. Proofread carefully again!

2. Revise the introduction so that it clearly articulates the purpose of your essay. Note that "clearly" doesn't necessarily mean "explicitly." You can make it clear that you are reviewing a book without saying "I am going to review this book."

3. If you are reviewing the book, then make clear what you think its purpose is; make clear what its argument is. (e.g., H and J wrote The M. of Africa in order to accomplish X. They argue that etc.)

4. Demonstrate how the argument is proven, if you think it is. When this is done, your essay will include sentences with the following type of structure and organization: H and J examine A, B, C in order to prove Z. For example, they cite W., who writes "whatever W. wrote." This shows that etc."

5. Possibly make an assessment of the value of the book. Is it important, informative, compelling? Does it make a significant contribution to the field of African studies or colonial studies?

Best, EJ.
Submitted by: Lilnghty4ng3l
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