Heart of Darkness

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Heart of Darkness. That title rings with agony, loneliness, and the sense of evil. The words produce an image of a black heart entangled with unbreakable vines. To have a heart that is figuratively black and bounded to the ties of evil is a bitter and deathly symbol. Who could possibly have that heart? Joseph Conrad, for example, was a man with a heart of darkness. His life reeked with self deception and inner conflicts. Conrad’s book, Heart of Darkness is based upon imperialism and racism. Racism is cleverly hidden within the text, but imperialism is innocently depicted as the civilization of the Congolese people. Conrad’s writing can be interpreted two different ways. One approach is the reader might interpret his writing as an attack on the Europeans as the imperialists trying to help the Congolese, but the African people refuse their help. In contrast, the other approach might be that they feel sympathetic to the Congolese people. They see the Europeans has cruel and heartless. If we seek to understand the racism and the imperialism of that day and age, we can see racism in between the lines. I agree with many of Conrad’s critics when they say that he is completely racist, however I tend to see that no matter what race we are we all have a seed of darkness inside our hearts. Why are we infected with his powerful bug of a race overpowering any minority that is inferior to us due to any significant difference? In the case of Conrad’s book Heart of Darkness, it seems like Congolese people are nothing more than disposable and insignificant. Racism is the native differences among the various human races that determine cultural or individual achievement, usually including the idea that one's own race is superior and has the right... ... middle of paper ... ...rwell 534) Orwell felt the connection with the elephant he shot. He would have never done it if the people weren’t around him, judging him, invisibly pushing him into a corner. He would be disposed of in the natives eyes being nothing of value if he hadn’t shot the elephant. That is the conflict I want to believe Marlow or even Conrad had within his heart. However, it seems that he just continued on the path that was already paved out for him by the others that were too blind to see imperialisms lasting affects on human nature. If one is too weak to chose between what is right and what is wrong what makes him so different from the rest? When Marlow just stands by and watches and the people humiliate and dehumanize the Congolese people he is no better then Kurtz or any other colonizers. It is a constant psychological battle that involves internal and external forces.

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