Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The African Queen Research Paper

"The African Queen" Research Essay

This book is set before and during WWI in Africa. Rose and her priest brother are sent to Christianize the natives. At the time, central Africa was occupied by the Germans, of which Rose and Samuel highly detested. Samuel dies early on in the book and Rose is devastated. Through her brother's death Rose becomes highly patriotic and wants to help with her blow for the British Empire. Allnutt comes along and helps her bury him. To get her away from her brother's grave he invites her on his boat the African Queen.


The boat is very rickety and full of high explosives, mainly blasting gelatin. Allnutt tells her of the Keigin Luise (Louisa), a police steamer which the German government maintains. Rose suddenly gets the idea of torpedoing it. With all the explosives, she figures, they could create torpedoes. Allnutt says it's crazy and tells her of rapids and other dangers that they could come upon. She persuades him to go and he agrees reluctantly. He thinks that once she sees a real rapid she will change her mind. He shows her how to steer the boat. Allnutt remembers about Shona, a German camp that they would have to pass through, and he decides that they won't go on. To pay him back, while he is sleeping, Rose dumps out every bottle in every case of gin on the boat. She also stops talking to him, which in turn drives him crazy. He eventually gives in to Rose and decides to go down the river. They pass by Shona and are shot at.

The German captain tells everyone to stop shooting thinking that everyone in the launch is already dead. He thinks that no one in his or her right mind would voluntarily go through that area. He decides not to tell his superior, Von Hanneken. They traveled along and reached the rapids. Miraculously, they survive. Allnutt gets a splinter and Rose removes it. This seems to break the barrio between them. Then they kiss and make love. She asks him his real name and he says that his name is Charlie. They encounter cataracts that cause a lot of damage to the boat. The shaft is twisted and the propeller lost a blade. Rose brings up the idea of welding the shaft back into place using charcoal and making a new blade out of iron scraps. Allnutt laughs at this thinking that it's a crazy idea. He ends up doing it and it works. They arrive at a place where the Ulanga River changes its name and becomes the Bora. There the river was half mud and half water and the heat was colossal. Insects attacked every exposed part of skin. They didn't know what was worse the heat or the bugs. Night fell and the bugs left. Rose and Charlie contemplate their newfound love for each other before they fall asleep. They continue to look for the delta.

The delta empties into the lake on which the Louisa lies. Rose leads the boat towards the reeds where they get lost. They get stuck in the mud. It rains at night and they find themselves actually moving. They become stick again and this time they have to row using canoe paddles. The propeller gets stuck on weeds and Charlie goes in the water to cut it out. When he surfaces he is covered in leeches. Rose use salt to remove them. The mud got worse and worse as they went along and Allnutt was forced to get out and pull the boat along. Both Rose and Charlie caught malaria. Rose dosed herself and Charlie regularly with quinine from the portable medicine chest in her tin trunk. Had it not been for that they probably would have died. They found the lake. Realizing their current muddy condition, they washed themselves off and polished the boat. When Allnutt is asleep, Rose prays and then realizes that she sinned in sleeping with Allnutt. She looks at him and feels no remorse for her sins. She thinks of him as a husband already.

When they wake up they spot the Louisa and it was coming right towards them. It turns away and they realize that it's just patrolling the lake. Rose and Charlie make the torpedoes and attach them to the front of the boat. All they had to do was ram the Louisa, and then the torpedoes would detonate. A great storm came along, sinking the African Queen and the hopes of delivering a blow for England. Charlie is brought to the President of the Court who questions him. He doesn't answer any of the questions thinking that it's no use because Rose is dead. An officer comes in the room with Rose and a buoy revealing the name African Queen. The President realizes who they are and how they came to the lake. A Belgian ship spots the Louisa and thinks it odd that the show a white flag. The Belgian lieutenant boards the ship and sees Rose and Allnutt sick with malaria. They bring them back and take them to the hospital tent. The Louisa is attacked by the Matilda and the Amelia which shoot it down. They save all the Germans so they won't drown. Rose has to be sent back to England. To avoid being torn apart Rose has the consul marry her to Charlie.

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