Where do we begin? Out of Africa looks at foreignness from pretty much every possible angle. For one thing, the narrator herself is a stranger in a strange land, a Danish immigrant in British East Africa.
She also sees the "Natives" as pretty foreign, even though they've been on her farm since before she was a twinkle in her daddy's eye. Then there are all of the other kinds of foreigners that populate Nairobi and the farm: English friends, Swedish neighbors, Somali servants, Indian merchants.
And the melting pot of Nairobi isn't exactly hot enough for them to swirl their differences into a beautiful happy mixture. There's friction aplenty.
Questions About Foreignness and 'The Other'
- Are there any "Natives" that the narrator really identifies with? Which ones? Why or why not?
- What are the biggest challenges that the European immigrants face in East Africa?
- When does the Baroness see herself as a foreigner, and when does she see others as foreigners in Africa? What makes the difference?
- Why does the native become the Other in this novel? They were there first!
Chew on This
When the Baroness leaves her farm, she realizes that she is a foreigner in Africa. When she's on the farm, everyone else becomes the foreigner.
The Baroness identifies more with the Englishmen in Africa than with her fellow countrymen. This is a sign that she has conformed to the colonizers and forgotten that she is a foreigner.