Before analyzing Heart of Darkness, I would have named this book racist, completely; Conrad downgrades the Africans in the Congo without hiding it none the less. He takes very specific words to describe the Africans, but he opted not to blot out these comments. We as readers can’t specify why an author would write in the way they act, but we can opt to view the physical versus the meaning towards it. With this said, Heart of Darkness’s content is seen physical ... ... middle of paper ... ... mission” of imperialism, or is he a pioneering early critic of the blindness and cruelty of colonial practices?” It's up to you to choose your path. Will Conrad we considered a hero for writing such a compelling text, or will he be accused of 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.
Heart of Darkness: Racist or not? Many critics, including Chinua Achebe in his essay "An Image of Africa: Racism in Conrad's Heart of Darkness", have made the claim that Joseph Conrad's novel Heart of Darkness, despite the insights which it offers into the human condition, ought to be removed from the canon of Western literature. This claim is based on the supposition that the novel is racist, more so than other novels of its time. While it can be read in this way, it is possible to look under the surface and create an interpretation of Conrad's novel that does not require the supposition of extreme racism on the part of Conrad. 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.
Additionally, conceptual examples of white negligence regarding black people provided by Toni Morrison will be used to further the argument of Twain’s racist views. Mark Twain is loose and irresponsible in his excessive use of the word “nigger”. It appears as if Twain has no regard for black people regarding the derogatory nature of the word. To him, it seems as if it is just some other ordinary word to describe people of color. He, based on his numerous uses, is negligent and possibly oblivious to what offense the use of the word might have toward black people.
Conrad followed in the footsteps of infamous racist in figures, King Leopold II in particular for his barbaric treatment of Africans in the Congo. Achebe also accused Conrad of being “a thoroughgoing racist,” which I do not agree with. While I do think that Conrad certainly was a racist, he did not take that racism to the extremity that others, such as King Leopold II, did. In Heart of Darkness, Conrad made it clear that he was a racist, but did not carry that racism out to the fullest extent possible.
Heart of Darkness as a Racist Novel Because of Conrad's constant use of light and dark imagery in this novel, it can be difficult at times to ascertain whether his use of this imagery is meant in a racist manner, or whether he is using it simply to show how the Europeans actions are bigoted because of their naivety, or their seeming overwhelmed ness due to the new and strange landscape they have conquered, and their actions are a result of over eagerness on their behalf to civilize the blacks. The River Congo is compared to the River Thames in the book because Marlow is telling the story while they are sitting at the bottom of the Thames, yet his story takes place on the Congo. Right off, there is a comparison between two different rivers. The Thames is suggested as a peaceful, tranquil river while the Congo, considered the antithesis of the Thames, has quite a different atmosphere. We are told that "Going up that river was like traveling back to the earliest beginnings of the world, when vegetation rioted on the earth and the big trees were kings."
He believes that Conrad is a racist and writes in a way to make readers believe that racism is okay. “Joseph Conrad was a thoroughgoing racist… white racism against Africa is such a normal way of thinking that its manifestations go completely unremarked.” Achebe describes Conrad and his novel to be both racist and dehumanizing against Africans, and Conrad makes it come off as something that is normal. Wilson Harris writes in his piece that he believes Achebe’s way of arguing Heart of darkness is over the top: but I am convinced his judgment or dismissal of Heart of Darkness-and of Conrad's strange genius-is a profoundly mistaken one. He sees the distortions of imagery and, therefore, of character in the novel as witnessing to horrendous prejudice on Conrad's part in his vision of Africa and Africans (86). Harris argues that Achebe is misunderstand the novel and author, and is over analyzing Conrad’s “imagination” and his making it into a bias issue.
Imperialism benefitted certain Africans like Nwoye and the osu. In the end, Achebe’s message about imperialism is best summed up by Obierka’s observation: “[the white man] does not even speak our tongue [.] But he says that our customs are bad” (Achebe 124). TFA shows that one of the main reasons imperialism was so harmful to the natives is the sometimes unintentional, sometimes deliberate lack of understanding of by the Europeans. Because they assumed that Africans were incomprehensible and inherently different, they decided that Africans needed outside help to become
According to Lois Tyson, the colonizers think that they set up examples for the colonial people, so the colonised people “were considered ‘other’, different, and therefore inferior to the point of being less than fully human” In other words, the colonizers ... ... middle of paper ... ...me greedy. As Gene M. Moor has stated, Conrad hated imperialism in central Africa of its savageness, selfishness and devastation. Kurtz’s final words, ‘the horror’, ‘the horror’, are about how a civilized man can change to savagery when there is no restriction” Therefore, Kurtz can be considered as corruption brought to Africa from Europe. The death of Kurtz can be regarded as subversion of colonialism as it destroys both the colonizers and the colonised people. Heart of Darkness reflects the realities of world in the 19th century, that is Africans suffered and died because of European brutality during slave trading and colonialism.
In a devastating critique of Heart of Darkness, Nigerian writer Achebe slams Conrad as a “bloody racist”, criticizing his “dehumanization of Africa”. However, this critique is misjudged. The jungle is symbolically personified to promote the theme of cultural separation, by personifying Nature as wanting to “ward off” intruders. Rather than Othering the Africans, Conrad deconstructs the binary opposition between him and the Africans as well as bringing them together by confusing the beat of an African drum with his own intimate heartbeat, believing himself to have a remote kinship with them when he sees them dancing and howling. This should be evaluated in the context of contrast, his description of his isolation amongst the Europeans with whom he “had no point of contact”, operating as an essential example of