European Exploration And Colonialism In Joseph Conrad's Heart Of Darkness

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Heart of Darkness is a modern English novella written by a modern English novelist whose name is Joseph Conrad in 1898. Basically the novella has a true , historical account of European exploration and colonialism. During the end of nineteenth century colonialism was reaching its peak. The center of interest for European colonial powers was Africa, specifically the region of the Congo.
Conrad, who had himself experienced at first hand the actual practices of colonialism, was aware that the noble exalted intentions and the so-called humanitarian mission to Africa, were merely a façade to extract the bounty of ivory, diamonds and gold available there in a vacant land. The motive to civilize , as Marlow's aunt says, to wean ''those ignorant millions from their horrid ways'' was the excuse to exploit the land for profit in the ''vilest scramble for loot'' the world has known. The difference—the discrepancy between what people believe exists and what, in reality, does exist takes the level of social satire in Conrad's Heart of Darkness. Marlow is like an observer of the ironical situation that appears in his journey from Europe to Africa and back to Europe is an intentional pattern which enables the moral values of European culture to be exposed and satirized. this is embodied when the exponents of white men's values are morally isolated from the confines of their organized society. When Marlow return, his illumination is the criterion whereby European culture is judged and condemned. What Marlow learn about these values in the Congo becomes the measure of the hypocrisy and false idealism of European civilization.
What Marlow discovered was that the white man who had come to Africa professing to bring progress and light to the darkest...

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... the gratification of his various lust, that there was something wanting in him – some small matter which, when the pressing need arose, could not be found under his magnificent eloquence.
Similarly, the 'reclaimed' native helmsman has no restraint, and so is killed. In fact nobody has any real restraint except the most savage of all men, the half-starved cannibals on board the steamer who amaze Marlow by the fact that they restraint themselves from tucking into the pilgrims:
Restraint! What possible restraint? Was it superstition, disgust, patience, fear – or some kind of primitive honour? No fear can stand up to hunger, no patience can wear it out, disgust simply does not exist where hunger is: and as to superstition, beliefs, and what you man call principles, they are less than chaff in a breeze it takes a man all his inborn strength to fight hunger properly

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