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Essay on Themes in Guns, Germs and Steel

Jared Diamond’s Book Free Essay Example

There are several themes that are represented by the Burke and wills, the Irish Policeman and the English astronomer in Jared Diamond’s book Guns, Germs and Steel.  Diamond highlights the apparent civilization in the Eurasian continent in the areas of politics, Science architecture and art. The people from the other continents have been conquered or even exterminated by the Eurasian military as can be seen when Burke shoots dead an Aborigine even after they offered themselves to serve him and wills with food to replenish their hunger and thirst while they were still in the desert. This makes the other Aborigines to escape and eventually the two explorers die of hunger. The above action by Burke clearly highlights the theme of colonization and domination by the superior powers, from Europe over the inferior nations like the Native Americans, Khoisans of South Africa and the Aborigines. The gun in this case therefore is the symbol of European superiority.

Civilization has also developed the theme of advancement in the area of medicine for the European nations. However, for the unfortunate inferior, the Eurasian disease took their toll and significantly reduced their populations making it easy to control them. This is represented in the germs that attacked the subjects but the Europeans were immune to these germs hence could not be affected by such diseases. The theme of health and sanitation hygiene comes up at the end from this state of affairs to depict the sorry state of the subjects (Raudzens, 2003).

Guns, Germs, and Steel Critical Essays 

The difference in wealth and power that was driven by difference in technology between the Europeans and the natives can be depicted in a number of ways. Wills is an astronomer who has the equipment and the necessary knowledge to conduct his business unlike the locals who do not have any technological know how in the area of astronomy, in fact they could not conduct any form of exploration. This in fact shows the reason why the Europeans were dominant powers rather than the East Asian countries like China. Apparently the Asian areas faced no external pressure and this led to their stagnation. On the other hand, there were natural barriers in Europe that led to the emergence of many competing states that forced the European countries to improve their technology in areas like farming and astronomy in order to avoid stagnation.

The steel rule has been exposed by the centralized government which is firm thereby enhancing the theme of nationalism and ensuring military organization. The theme of leadership is advanced by the firm rule resembling steel that has been established over the subjects so that their allegiance to the authority may never falter lest they receive very firm consequences which ordinarily they fear (Raudzens, 2003).

The Europeans have been depicted has opportunistic by Diamond since their civilization is based on their opportunism. Burke and Wills for instance are helped through the desert by the Aborigines who they encounter at Menindee as they crossed the Australia from north to south. They enjoy the food provided by the Aborigines since they packed provisions get finished while they are still in the desert but eventually shoot one Aborigine and this causes a disaster. The other Aborigines flee after the death of their country man and leave the two explorers to die at the mercy of hunger. This painful end shows the opportunistic nature of the two explorers who were very selfish in reality.