Karen Blixen
Photo Credit: Everett Collection

Karen Blixen

Out of Africa

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About Her

Grew Up… in Denmark in the beginning of the 20th century. Not particularly wealthy, Karen asks her friend Baron Bror Blixen to enter into a marriage of convenience with her. Sure, they're not in love, but Bror is rich as far as Karen knows, which is a step forward for her.

Living… as a baroness. However, she's pretty far removed from Denmark's high society as her and Bror relocated to British East Africa. There they buy a farm, however Karen is shocked and dismayed to find out that instead of a typical dairy farm, Bror bought a coffee plantation, which is far less lucrative. In fact, Karen soon realizes that Bror isn't keen on the whole manual labor thing.

Profession… proprietor of a coffee plantation. But deep down, in this remote part of the world, Karen longs to identify with the land and with others: "If I know a song of Africa, of the giraffe and the African new moon lying on her back, of the plows in the fields and the sweaty faces of the coffee pickers, does Africa know a song of me? Will the air over the plain quiver with a color that I have had on, or the children invent a game in which my name is, or the full moon throw a shadow over the gravel of the drive that was like me, or will the eagles of the Ngong Hills look out for me?"

Interests… aside from farming, she also befriends the locals, including the big game hunter, Denys Finch Hatton. Denys is rugged but polite, and equally untamable. Karen grows closer to Denys, as her husband sleeps around behind her back. Karen tries to keep her internal composure despite feeling extremely isolated and alone at times.

Relationship Status… married to Bror. Although their marriage is at first one of convenience, she eventually falls in love with him. It's crushing when she finds out that he's cheating on her. Will a romance ever stir between herself and the commitment-fearing Denys? 

Challenge… trying to survive her faulty marriage. Beyond that, can she survive in general in this distant and oftentimes dangerous part of the world?

Personality… poetic, romantic, strong-willed. Against the vast landscape that can make anyone feel diminished, Karen tries to carve out a life for herself. 

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