Analysis Of Joseph Conrad 's Heart Of Darkness Essay

Analysis Of Joseph Conrad 's Heart Of Darkness Essay

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“I had him at my back – a help – an instrument.” (Conrad 76) This is Marlow’s response to the death of his African native helmsmen on his steamboat. This quote displays his view of the black natives as instruments used to achieve a goal. According to Marlow the natives are a lesser race and are uncivilized brutes or animals. Marlow, Kurtz and the manager portray how power and greed, as well as the regard they hold for the native’s lives affects them in a negative way. They hold no regard for the locals and they view them as property and a way to gain prestige. The initial goal of the English colonists was or should have been to actually help the natives to become civilized, but when the English realize they can do what they want due to the lack of authority they lose all restraint. This demonstrates to us that in Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad proves that although white Europeans view themselves as superior to the black Africans in matters of civilization, they are in fact more savage than the natives they have come to civilize.
When Marlow begins his job as a captain with the Company, he sees the deplorable state of the natives, yet he begins to notice their civility. He first experiences the deplorable state of the natives when he notices, “They were dying slowly—it was very clear. They were not enemies, they were not criminals, they were nothing earthly now --- nothing but black shadows of disease and starvation, lying confusedly in the greenish gloom.” (Conrad 24) In contrast the white men are dressed in ties, starched shirts, alpaca jackets, and varnished boots. Marlow views the Congo as a place of “cold, fog, tempests, disease, exile, and death. (Conrad 7) Despite all of these observations, Marlow begins to see the nat...


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...view themselves as superior to the black Africans in matters of civilization they are, in reality, more savage then the natives they have come to civilize. The natives show Marlow they are as civilized if not more than the white man due to their strength to resist hunger and their devotion to work for the white man even when the pay is not conducive to their survival. Kurtz and the manager show how power and greed obsessed they have become when they try to control the natives and when the manager is anticipating Kurtz death so he can take over his position and claim his power. The natives are simple folk and are held in fear of the white man due to the brute force the white man possesses and the superstitions they have concerning the white man and what the white man brings. This goes to show that the white man is more of a savage than the local black Africans are.

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