with domesticity of blood and blubber?

me-rav

Member
Hebrew - Israel
In Richard Flanagan's novel Wanting Dickens is writing a column to the paper in order to defend the honor of Sir John Richardson's crew in the expedition to find the Northwest Passage who was said to resort to cannibalism in order to survive.

What does he mean by the last (bold) sentence?
‘The noble conduct and example of such men, and of their own great leader himself, under similar circumstances outwighs s by the weight of the whole universe the chatter of a gross handful of uncivilised people, with domesticity of blood and blubber.’
 
  • PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    In Richard Flanagan's novel "Wanting", Charles Dickens is writing a column in his own magazine in order to defend the honor of Sir John Richardson's crew in the expedition to find the Northwest Passage who was said to resort to cannibalism in order to survive.
    You did not give the context. Dickens was attacking the fact that claim of cannibalism had been made by the Eskimos:
    Critics attacked Rae’s reliance on Eskimo testimony as the weak link in his report. The testimony of savages (i.e. Eskimos), they argued, had to be weighed against the far more reliable attributes of British character. It seemed to them that, faced with starvation, Franklin’s men would have died rather than resort to cannibalism. Charles Dickens championed this position in his magazine, Household Words. “The noble conduct and example of such men, and of their own great leader himself,” Dickens wrote, “outweighs by the weight of the whole universe the chatter of a gross handful of uncivilized people, with a domesticity of blood and blubber.” (From "The Coldest Crucible: Arctic Exploration and American Culture" By Michael F. Robinson)
    Dickens is claiming that Eskimos are savages because their lives revolve around blood (from animals they kill) and blubber (from whales and walruses) that they catch. This suggests that they are unlike British people who are far more civilized and therefore British people are to be trusted.
     
    Last edited:

    me-rav

    Member
    Hebrew - Israel
    It is much clearer now, thanks. Sorry for not giving enough context, will do next time.
     
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