The Negative Effects of Colonization
When Christopher Columbus crossed the Atlantic, looking for a new route to the East, he found a New World. In this New World he found a new and strange people. The landscape was different, the climate was different and the natural resources were different. After returning back to Spain and reporting this New World, the European colonialism was started. People from many of the European nations came to what would be called the Americas and laid their claim to the land. Each country bringing their views and cultures and establishing it in the area that they claimed. This colonialism continued throughout history into the 20th century. Africa and Southeast Asia were colonized, by the U.S. and various other European nations, and used as battlegrounds for the U.S. and the Soviet Union to fight their cold war. These wars resulted in the deaths of many soldiers but even more African and Asian people, whose homes were displaced and country torn apart. The affects of this colonialism can still be seen thought these countries in today s times. Robert A. Heinlein, C.S. Lewis and Ray Bradbury deal with the issue of colonialism in the books, The Puppet Masters, Out of the Silent Planet and The Martian Chronicles, respectively. Each of these stories deal with colonization of earth and of other worlds and the affects that colonization has on the inhabitants of the worlds. The Puppet Masters, Out of the Silent Planet, and The Martian Chronicles, deal with the negative affects of colonialism on the population that is colonized as well as the negative affect on the population that colonizes.
In Heinlein s The Puppet Masters, a race of creatures, that survive by entering another body and living off of it, come to earth from the planet Titan. These creatures wanted to colonize earth and used its natural resources, people, much like the early colonialist of the Americas, who wanted Tobacco and sugar. The Titans started their colonization slowly by observing the humans and sending small numbers of Titans to earth initially to scout the humans. We have studied you and we know your ways. (101) This is like the early expeditions to America when small groups of people arrived. The Titans also have an arrogance that the Europeans settles had. When the old man asked Sam with the Titan on his back what planet they were from, and he replied, All planets are ours. This attitude is the same as the early settlers who believed that the land they claimed belonged to them despite the fact there were already people living there. The Titans seem to believe that they have a right to go to any planet and call it there own. Sort of a manifest destiny of the development of the West in North America. The Titans also had some missionary type values. The Europeans felt that the Indians were heathens and that they should be converted to Christianity. They felt that is was their duty to convert the savages and bring peace and order to their lives. When the Old Man asked the Titan possessed Sam why they were here, he replied, To bring you peace and contentment-and the joy of of surrender. (101) The Titans believed that humans were savage and wanted war. If the Titans converted the humans, they would have peace and would no longer have the desire for war. This colonization by the Titans seemed like and invasion from the point of view of the humans, much like the Indians would have thought of the Europeans coming to America.
Bradbury s The Martians Chronicles shows the history from beginning to end of colonization. It starts out the same as most colonization with a small expedition that fails which leads to another with more men, which fails and this continues for four expeditions. The last one succeeds and that leads to the start of the colonization of Mars. Spender, a member of the last expedition, wanted to stop the colonization of Mars because he knew the negative effects that it would cause.
When I was a kid my folks took me to visit Mexico City. I ll always remember the way my father acted-loud and big. And my mother didn t like the people because they were dark and didn t wash enough. And my sister wouldn t talk to most of them. And I can see my mother and my father acting the same way here. (64)
This attitude toward is common with colonialist who look down on people for now having the same technologies or way of life. Spender goes on to say, Do you remember what happened to Mexico when Cortez and his very fine good friends arrived from Spain? A whole civilization destroyed. Spender realizes that colonization is so bad, that he is willing to kill his own crewmembers to keep man from coming to Mars. As the settlers from earth moved in, the Martians were moved farther away from their cities and into hiding in the woods. This parallels what happens to the Indians when the Europeans arrived and the Indians on the East Coast were driven farther west. The Martians were also killed off by disease the same as the Indians. The Indian population was decimated by disease. That is another affect of colonization, no resistance to diseases. After the Martians have gone away and it is just the settlers, life on Mars becomes similar to life on earth. The ways and attitudes of the earthlings were brought to Mars just like they were when the Europeans came to America.
In Lewis Out of the Silent Planet man is tempted in looking at another world to explore and drain of resources. Although Weston claimed to be interested in traveling to the moon for scientific reasons, Devine openly admits to going to the moon for personal gain. For the most part is conversation ran on the things he would do when he got back to earth: ocean going yachts, the most expensive women and a big place on the Riviera figured largely in his plans. I am not running all these risk for fun. Devine knew about the gold on the planet and taking it was his only concern. When his life was being decided by the Oyarsa, instead of just pleading for his life he says, We little people only want sun-bloods. You give us plenty sun bloods, we go back into sky, you never see us no more. (134) Even when his life was about to be taken away from him, all he could think about was the gold. Economic reasons where the reason Columbus trip was financed by Spain and some of the first settlers were indentured servants to work on farms to bring goods back to the country from which they came. The humans brought nothing but violence to a planet that had no war or fighting between the groups that were on the planet. Weston ended up killing Ransom new friend all for reasons of greed and arrogance that didn t exist on Malachandra. Ransom tells the Oyarsa, Your tribal life with its stone age weapons and bee-hive huts, is primitive coracles and elementary social structure, has nothing to compare with our civilization- with our science, medicine and law. Our right to supersede you is the right of the higher over the lower. (135) That statement made by Ransom embodies all that colonialism is. The belief in superiority of one group of people over another and the one group has the right to use whatever it wants because of that belief.
Colonialism has had very negative effects on the colonized people though out history. War and disease, basically wiped out Indians in the Americas. In Africa, fighting still goes on between groups that were divided against each other by their colonial powers. Vietnam was torn apart by a decade of war because of two colonial powers using them to fight a cold war. The negative affects of colonialism give shape to the three novels. Each author uses the characters to show how colonialism causes grief to those being colonized. In The Puppet Masters, Heinlein shows that people don t want to be colonized even if it could appear to be beneficial through technology or other benefits. Sam says, I was oddly contented to be back with my master. Even though he was pleased with having no worry and stress in his life, he ultimately valued his freedom more than the benefits the being brought him. The Martian Chronicles parallel the colonization of America and what happened to the native people. Disease destroyed the Martians, leaving a few left in the world that were run of into the mountains. Much like the Indians, being placed on the reservations in some far off out of the way place. The stranded Martian who became Tom Lafarge, was an analogy of how settlers feel it is a right of theirs to do whatever or take whatever from the natives. He was torn apart by the people who all felt that they had a right to keep him. Never did anyone consider what the Martian wanted to do. Lewis Out of the Silent Planet, show human arrogance about colonizing inferior beings. Even though the Oyarsa posses more knowledge and power than Weston, Weston talks to him as if he is a child. Weston says that he, bear[s] the on my shoulders the destiny of the human race. (135) This idealology of the White Man s Burden is the driving force behind colonization that causes resentment with the native people. The end result is that the relationship between the two peoples will always be unequal, making it impossible for the two groups to co-exist together.