(An Image of Africa, Achebe, 1975) Achebe comments on Conrad’s work as a hidden product of racism because criticisms for Heart of Darkness mask the racism and it is now the way we [critics and readers] see the novella. Achebe’s contempt for the novella is beyond the words of Conrad; it is significantly towards the fact—the novella is not criticized more in the light of Conrad’s racism. Achebe’s comment might holds some truth because I didn’t read Heart of Darkness as a racist text.Personally, I saw it has the disintegration of colonialism. As Achebe suggests “am I a product of white racism?” To answer the question above, I am not a product of white racism because personally, I do not see it as a racist text. When I read Conrad’s The Heart of Darkness, the language hinted to racism not from the standpoint of Conrad, but from Marlow,the protagonist and the other major and minor characters.
How does Achebe's personal history and the context in which he wrote "An Image of Africa: Racism in Conrad's Heart of Darkness" reflect the manner in which he views Conrad's idea of racism in the novel? 3. Taking into account Achebe's assumptions and analysis of racism in Heart of Darkness, how does this change Conrad's novel as a literary work, if it does at all? The literal heart of darkness in Conrad's novel Heart of Darkness does not merely incorporate the Belgian Congo, the African savages, the journey to the innermost soul, and England as the corruptor in its attempted colonization of the African people for selfish and commercial purposes. In "An Image of Africa: Racism in Conrad's Heart of Darkness ," Achebe accuses Conrad of racism as the essential "heart of darkness."
Furthermore, we must keep in mind that Conrad was a product of a rather racist period in history, and it seems unfair to penalize him for not being able to transcend his contemporaries in this respect. This novel, it seems, must be read in a symbolic manner. Objects and characters are not so simple as they seem. Achebe tells us: "Quite simply it is the desire... in Western psychology to set Africa up as a foil to Europe, as a place of negations at once remote and vaguely familiar, in comparison with which Europe's own state of spiritual grace will be manifest" (251-252). If Africa is a foil to Europe, as stated here, then perhaps Conrad only uses the continent of Africa symbolically, without regard to its people - as Achebe himself states, descriptions of Africans as anything more than vague limbs in the darkness are few and far between in the novel.
When Conrad refers to Africans through his characters, it seems as if he views them as animals. “Mostly black and nake... ... middle of paper ... ...have grown to the powerhouse that it was. I am not condoning it and saying the treatment of blacks was ok, but Conrad’s novel is a work of its time, and always will be in history. Achebe stated that Conrad’s work was “an offensive and deplorable book.” I believe this view of Heart of Darkness to be true through his inhumane depiction of blacks throughout his novel. Conrad followed in the footsteps of infamous racist in figures, King Leopold II in particular for his barbaric treatment of Africans in the Congo.
In literature, contrasting places are used by certain authors as a way of representing opposed forces or ideas that are central to the meaning of the work. We see this used in the novella “Heart Of Darkness” by Joseph Conrad as he applies the jungles of Africa and Europe to develop the concept of civilization and the heart of darkness respectively. However many critics such as Chinua Achebe and Karin Hannson believe that Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness is a racist work displaying the mistreatment of African natives being below Marlow and Kurtz.In "An Image of Africa: Racism in Conrad 's Heart of Darkness," Chinua Achebe criticizes Joseph Conrad for his racist stereotypes towards the continent and people of Africa. Despite this, Conrad
Recognizing the truths in society and disregarding the false accusations from outside forces. Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart questions and challenges the previous literary discussions from Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness and other colonial texts by constituting a new perspective of African history and beliefs through the use of argumentative, narrative, and linguistic strategies. Although Conrad's "Heart of Darkness" does dispute the morality of European imperialism in Africa, racism is still showcased by the Europeans at this time. An example is the relationship between his African American cousins with the biblical symbols of the evil night. Throughout Heart of Darkness, sin is portrayed by the images of darkness and Christianity and enlightenment is portrayed by the light in the novel.
In the book Heart of Darkness, by Joseph Conrad; he has caused some controversy among other writers. Chinua Achebe author of An Image of Africa argues that Conrad is a “bloody racist”, and his book dehumanizes Africans. Whereas Wilson Harris the author of The Frontier on Which Heart of Darkness Stands, believes that Conrad is using a novelistic theme, Achebe is misinterpreting Conrad and his novel, and Joseph Conrad is not a racist and his protagonist Marlow is just a character that is part of Conrad’s imagination who comes to life on paper, but do not have any resemblance. Chinua Achebe’s reaction to Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, is not a positive response. He believes that Conrad is a racist and writes in a way to make readers believe that racism is okay.
Joseph Conrad’s novella explores the concept of imperialism and makes reference to the exploration and colonization of Africa. The text itself, which is narrated in a third-person perspective (to subdue the demeaning nature), is bluntly degrading and disparaging toward the natives of Africa. The native African people are blatantly ostracized in Conrad’s Heart of Darkness with the author’s use of derogatory and condemning language throughout the text, the juxtaposition and hesitant comparison of the whites and the natives, and the idea presented of the European men being the saviors of Africa. Rather than display those of Africa as beings, Conrad uses belittling language to not only present the native people as beasts, but to also establish the theme of savagery in the novella. When describing the natives, Joseph Conrad has no hesitation to condemn the people.
Joseph Conrad's novel Heart of Darkness uses character development and character analysis to really tell the story of European colonization. Within Conrad's characters one can find both racist and colonialist views, and it is the opinion, and the interpretation of the reader which decides what Conrad is really trying to say in his work. Chinua Achebe, a well known writer, once gave a lecture at the University of Massachusetts about Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness, entitled "An image of Africa: Racism in Conrad's Heart of Darkness." Throughout his essay, Achebe notes how Conrad used Africa as a background only, and how he "set Africa up as a foil to Europe," (Achebe, p.251) while he also "projects the image of Africa as the other world,' the antithesis of Europe and therefore of civilizations" (Achebe, p.252). By his own interpretations of the text, Achebe shows that Conrad eliminates "The African as a human factor," thereby "reducing Africa to the role of props" (Achebe, p.257).
He ascertains that "white racism against Africa is such a normal way of thinking that its manifestations go completely unremarked." He further questions the classification of Heart of Darkness (or any work that dehumanizes Africans) as a "great work of art" (12). Obviously, this essay is more direct in its attack on the standard view of Africa than his novels, but Achebe uses the essay forum to state his hopes about the future of African literature in the West. He wants to rehabilitate this image that he keeps seeing from everyone who ha... ... middle of paper ... ...oroughly rehabilitated me towards Africans in literature. Only a few billion more to go until Achebe can call his project a success.