The African Queen


THE AFRICAN QUEEN
Short Summary:

"The African Queen" is the tale of two companions with different personalities who develop
an untrustworthy love affair as they travel together downriver in Africa around the start of World War I. They struggle against the climate, the river, the bugs, the Germans and, most of all, against each other. In the course of much misery, they develop love and respect for each other.

Detailed Summary:
In September 1914, the German occupying forces hold East Africa.
The story starts in a small village that is overlorded by a stuffy British missionary, Reverent Samuel Sayer and his spinster, prudish sister Rose Sayer, who is utterly devoted to her brother. Rose is also very naive and pious. She thinks, God would not permit a war between England and Germany or the whole world..
Some day, German troops marches into that village. Merciless, without any warning, these troops invade the village, they burn down the huts and the church. Livestock, poultry, pots and pans and foodstuffs even the portable chapel had been taken by the German soldiers.
Only the mission bungalow was spared. Samuel goes on praying the awful calamity of war which has descended upon the world would soon pass away, so that slaughter and destruction would cease and that when they had regained their sanity men would turn from war to universal peace. Because of this war they were cut off from all communications and the rest of the world. Samuel thinks the Germans responsible for the outbreak of the war and all the sufferings. Rose is helpless as her brother suffers a nervous breakdown. He realises that his life's work has been destroyed and instantly loses his mind. He dies very soon after that, while Rose weeps at his bedside. One day later the sharp sound of a steamboat whistle could be heard in the village. A gin-drinking, cigar-smoking man, called Charlie Allnutt, arrives. He is the owner of this old, 30-foot ramshackle steamer named "The African Queen". He supplies the village with mails and news.
Charlie offers Rose both to rescue her and escape from here and bury her brother's corpse. They have to use the old, ramshackle African Queen, since he has blasting gelatine, cylinders of oxygen and hydrogen as new cargo.
They have a dangerous and difficult escape route: They have to pass the large Central Africa lake at the end of the dangerous connecting river, the Ulanga and Bora Rivers. But a large 100-ton German gunship, the Louisa, controls this area. In front of the lake, the Germans occupy a fort at Shona. And all along the way there are many rapids.
Rose, who is now resolute and strong-willed, wants to strike back against the Germans.
She plans to destroy the German warship by using the explosives that are still on board of the
"African Queen". At first, Charlie doesn't want to support that patriotic plan. Rose tries to change his views by accusing him permanently of not helping their country. That shows effects and Charlie agrees to her plan. They start their travel down to the river.
At first they are polite and tolerant to each other. After Charlie has drunk his gin, he suggests that they each could take a bath in the river. During the night, a rain storm soacks Charlie, who must sleep on the open deck, while Rose sleeps on the lower deck.
After they passed a series of dangerous rapids, Charlie expects that Rose will
think over her plan, but it turns out that this was not correct. On the contrary:
Rose wishes more dangerous rapids because she wants to learn how to steer the "African Queen". She is developing a kind of love for the "African Queen". After some drinks Charlie reneges on his promise to destroy the German warship. He says that it is an absurd idea because the fort at Shona has sharpshooters and snipers, which they have to pass during the day. Rose accuses him of being a liar and a coward. Charlie gets nervous and begins to sing. He takes one more gin and from that moment they are adversaries.
Next day Charlie wakes up and sees Rose taking revenge by throwing his bottles into the sea.
Charlie is furious with her because she answers all his questions with silence.
That makes him more and more furious: He abuses her and demands for a fair conversation.
Rose reveals that not his