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Denis Diderot’s “Supplement to the Voyage of Bougainville is a commentary on the misapprehension of the distinction of a civilized society to the primitive world. It upholds the difference of the otherness perceived by the European voyager and the promiscuity that inevitably…
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Download file to see previous pages... The assumed re-enactment is not so much a stretch as it is, though admittedly varied in content, with its own accord and merit in terms of content over authenticity.
The wisdom of Orou is easily perceptible in his discourse with the ship’s Chaplain. Orou’s representation of the justification of the customs of Tahiti enlightens the reader on the discrepancy between the justifications of morals between the “primitive” place and the technologically advanced Europeans. Diderot belittles the concept of European colonization and domination over the world in the guise of civilizing the alleged savages and bringing order. “We are free: and see thou hast planted in our earth the title of our future slavery. Thou art neither god nor demon. Who art thou then to make slaves?” (1796). The arrival of the colonizers marks the imprisonment and the slavery of peaceful men living under structured communities which may not be in accordance with how the former see as in accordance with their own but are nevertheless valid as their own. There is no desire among the Tahitiens to barter what the Europeans perceive as ignorance in exchange for their promise of knowledge. All that is necessary for their existence are available to the end of the promotion of what is palpably good for them.
The presumption of superiority imposed by the Western world was dismissed by Diderot constructively throughout the discourse. The conversation between Orou and the Chaplain revolved around such issues as sex, marriage, incest, jealousy and the priesthood. The Chaplain, naturally a man of chastity, cannot bring himself to accept the dispensability of marriage and the unobstructed practice of sex together with the custom of exchange of partners especially when he was presented Orou’s daughter openly. The settlement maintains the necessity of men above all others and the importance of propagation ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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