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Joseph Conrad's Views On Colonialism

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Length: 1505 words (4.3 double-spaced pages)
Rating: Yellow      
Price: $14.95
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"What redeems it is the idea only. An idea at the back of it; not a sentimental pretence but an idea."

"Those who read me know my conviction that the world, the tempered world rests, notably, on the idea of Fidelity."

This is a running theme through most Conrad's books. As a sailor he learned that to survive, every crewman did the job he was assigned, and that the survival of the ship, and therefore the community, depended on each man doing his duty.

The heart of darkness can be read as a political critique of western imperialism as exercised by the Belgians, who more or less raped the Congo of its resources while brutalizing the country's people and making them slaves of unbridled political avarice.

At the time Heart of Darkness was written, the British Empire was at its peak, and Britain controlled colonies and dependencies all over the planet. The popular saying that "the sun never sets on the British Empire" was literally true. The main topic of Heart of Darkness is imperialism, a nation's policy of exerting influence over other areas through military, political, an...


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... they don't have even that to bank on.
For Marlow, the end justified the means. He does not condemn the cannibals, because they were devoted to their work.

"They were men one could work with, and I'm grateful to them"

The Europeans, however, were not dedicated, thus falling to a level lower than that of even cannibals. These faithless pilgrims could hope for no salvation. What they wanted was an idea, and a deliberate belief:

"An unselfish belief in the idea – something you can set up, and bow down before, and offer a sacrifice to…"

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