The American linguist and critic Mary Louise Pratt defined  "contact zones" as "social spaces where cultures meet, clash, and grapple with each other, often in contexts of highly asymmetrical relations of power, such as colonialism, slavery, or their aftermaths as they are lived out in many parts of the world today." In light of the above definition, how is the contact zone represented in Stevenson's "The Beach of Falesá?" Provide very specific examples from the work to illustrate your discussion.

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The theory of the contact zone is presented in "The Beach of Falesá" through the exploitative relationship between the charlatan Case and the indigenous people of the island. This relationship is a classic example of Pratt's theory, as it is based on the kind of power imbalance between exploiter and exploited that is so characteristic of colonialism.

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To a considerable extent, Stevenson's "The Beach of Falesá" provides us with a classic illustration of Mary Louise Pratt's theory of the contact zone. Here, we have a social space where the very different cultures of white Westerners and the indigenous people of a South Sea island "meet, clash, and grapple with each other" in highly asymmetrical power relations.

In keeping with the normal practices of colonialism, the relationship between the white man and the indigenous people, as illustrated by the interactions between Case and the local tribe, is fundamentally unequal. Case has all the power in this relationship and uses it to exploit the ignorance and superstition of the islanders for his own ends.

Before long, Case has such power and control over the islanders that he's able to get them to perform unspeakable acts, such as burying a rival white trader alive. As well as being a tyrant, Case is also a charlatan who uses magic tricks as a way of keeping the islanders under his thumb and maintaining their loyalty.

In this social space—this contact zone, to use Pratt's words—the meeting of cultures is entirely one-sided. Case exploits the indigenous people and their ancient belief system, making them think that he's under the protection of a powerful devil. This only serves to consolidate his hold over them and further postpone any possibility that a relationship of equals may develop between the white man and the indigenous population in this part of the world.

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