In the novella, when Marlow and his crew are traveling down the Congo River they are attacked by a group of natives, and the battle ends in a crew member getting killed from a spear through his torso. When the natives were shooting arrows at the ship the helmsman was “foaming at the mouth” (51) and “shaking an empty rifle and yelling at the shore” (52) before he was impaled. Marlow goes on to talk about how if the man had controlled himself more and restrained himself from shooting at the natives then he would not have been killed. The way Conrad depicts this man’s behavior is the same way he described the natives earlier in the text, which is interesting because the helmsman was seen as one of the “pilgrims” who was also on the ship, and the pilgrims were supposed to be the civilized ones on the boat.
The cannibals however, were the most civilized people on that boat, especially com...
... middle of paper ...
... the more civilized. Although Conrad was accused of being a racist, his novella points to certain perspectives where the white man was not always right, and that they were possible the savages for pushing their beliefs onto these natives. The inverted savagery between the natives and the Europeans could been seen as a statement about colonialism and how people tend to think higher of themselves than they actually are. But it could also be seen as Conrad making a statement about how the white man and the savage really are not that different from each other; they are only different through the perceptions of society and outside forces. The same is true for Apocalypse Now and war, as the people who are supposed to be protecting the innocent, actually end up doing more harm than good, and that both sides of the war really aren’t as different as some people like to think.
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