Karen Blixen,- Isak Dinesen was a romantic and a naturalist who revered the virgin landscapes of Africa while disdaining the industrialism and growth which was increasingly to characterize life in the 20th century, even in her beloved Africa. She viewed native wisdom as inherently more in touch with the earth than the increasingly technological orientation of modern times.
In an era before the advent of mass media, storytelling was an important art form that provided entertainment and respite for people. In the isolation of farms and prairies storytelling lent itself well to lonely nights and fertile imaginations. Blixen's tales, often set in a previous century, were written to capture the spirit of romanticism in an earlier time. She said of her tendency to write in the past, "the present is always unsettled, no one has had time to contemplate it, in tranquility." Although she lived nearly one hundred years after Sir Walter Scott she greatly admired his work and her tales reflect this prosaic genre.
Dinesen, although in many ways a feminine romantic, was also an adventurer and an independent woman for her time. Out of Africa, her memoir, written in a style after Ernest Hemingway's in its descriptions of landscapes, animals, and local and colorful people. In fact when Hemingway won the Pulitzer Prize in 1957 he said that it should have gone to Dinesen. Her observations about human nature are filled with wry humor in the vein of the writings of Mark Twain, another author she admired. And lastly, in contemporary terms, Out of Africa is a unique portrait of two very different cultures, Northern white European and black, tribal African, trying, sometimes humorously, despite their differences, to develop an appreciation and understanding of one another.
Karen Blixen did not go to Africa with the intention of being a Christian missionary; however she alludes to the fact that she felt a sense of responsibility - one that she had mixed feelings about - in being an example of her faith to the people that lived there.