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Colonialism and Imperialism in Heart of Darkness and A Passage to India

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Length: 1679 words (4.8 double-spaced pages)
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Imperialism Explored in Heart of Darkness and A Passage to India


It is best to analyze the works, Heart of Darkness and A Passage to India, applying the historical and cultural conditions of the society in which they were produced. The relations between groups and classes of people that imperialism sets up, and that these two works explore, starkly reveals the contradictions within capitalism in a way that a similar piece of fiction set within one culture and dealing with characters from that culture alone cannot. Prior to the analysis however, I would like to give a brief, pertinent explanation of the Marxist approach to the analysis of literature and of the terms I will be using.

After years of study and research, Karl Marx published the first volume of his monumental Das Kapital in 1867. In it Marx presents his theory of the materialist conception of history in which the economic base of a society gives rise to and interacts in a dialectical way with the societal superstructure of culture, law, religion and art. Among other things, Das Kapital traces the historical dev...


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...rise" whether this was consciously expressed by the author(s) or not. This study will also attempt to tease out the ways in which each work both supports and subverts the imperial mission and its ideology and I will also speculate to a certain extent as to how these contradictions in the works reflected contradictions in the society in which they were written.

Works Cited:

Conrad, James. Heart of Darkness and Other Tales. Great Britain, BPC paperbacks ltd. 1990.

Forster, E.M. A Passage to India. Neew York: Harcourt Brace, 1984.

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