- Cult Classic: The first film adaptation is still foundly remembered. The second, for contrast, is almost forgotten.
- Fair for Its Day: The book aged really badly when it comes to characters' morality and portray of non-white people (or Africa as a whole), while it was a standard fare adventure book when it came out. One can only wonder how Sienkiewicz, coming from a place with no colonies and ruled by foreign overlords, could write a book glorifying colonialism and imperialism.
- Irony: Sienkiewicz is (in)famous for writing The Trilogy to "lift up hearts". He was living long after Poland was divided and ruled by foreign powers and removed from maps, as a citizen of Russia. Yet in this book he has zero remorse toward partiotic uprising and opposing foreign invasionnote , treats rebels as scum of the Earth, while colonial powers and their imperialism is glorified to no end. Since both In Desert And Wilderness and The Trilogy are obligatory books in Polish curriculum, try to imagine the mental gymnastics required to handle this in school.
- To give credit where it is due, Sienkiewicz does bring up this point: there is a scene where Mr Tarkowski is stated to be quite troubled by that, but stays silent out of a sense of courtesy towards Mr Rawlinson. But since it's mentioned about nowhere else in the book, you would be forgiven for missing it.
- Memetic Mutation: In Polish culture, a moral Double Standard is known as "Kali's morality". It comes from a scene in which Staś attempts to teach Kali about Christian morality (with some White Man's Burden and Insane Troll Logic along the way): bad is when somebody steals from Kali, says Kali. And good, asks Staś? Good, Kali answers, is when Kali steals from somebody.
- Viewer Gender Confusion: Due to the way how grammatical gender works in Polish, most people take Saba to be a bitch. It's mentioned once as a male dogo.
YMMV / In Desert And Wilderness