Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness

analytical Essay
1804 words
1804 words


One example that could be considered racist is in Chapter one. In this paragraph, Joseph Conrad is talking about how the Europeans are colonizing Africa and what they are doing to the natives in the process. He says that the Europeans are at fault for many things, including extremely violent robbery and the murders of numerous people. He is speaking about the reality of colonization and how in the end, countries will only care about making money off of it. He said they accomplish this by using “brute force,” which obviously means violence and killing. The European countries wanted to take away Africa from those who had “a different complexion or slightly flatter noses.” Up until this point, it does not seem as if Conrad is using any racist ideas. However, he then goes on to say that all of this is acceptable because it will be worth it in the end. In other words, he was trying to say that the end will justify the means, no matter how many innocent people must be hurt in the process (page 8).

Furthermore, in this same passage, Joseph Conrad describes this whole ordeal as actually being a rather unselfish idea. He says that the men doing all of this in Africa are actually making some sort of sacrifice. Also, in the passage it says that this is something others will “bow down before” and worship. What the Europeans were doing in Africa should in no way be worshipped or seen as a sacrifice. They did not sacrifice themselves; if anyone were sacrificed in this situation, it would be each and every one of the innocent Africans. This idea that Conrad presents could definitely be seen as racist, because what those men did was not right by any means, and they should definitely not be worshipped for it (page 8).


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...l in sense by calling it “satanic litany.” Again, just because they were speaking a different language does not give Conrad to describe it as being evil and not human. It seems as though he thinks the Europeans were superior to the Africans just because the language they spoke was different and unfamiliar to them (pg 78).

In Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, almost all of the racism is directed towards the Africans. However, there is one example in which there was racism towards another person. Marlow overhears a conversation one night and discovered that the manager thought the Russian trader, who was a friend of Kurtz’s, should be hanged. The manager wants to kill this man only because he is not exactly the same as him, which is similar to the fact that the Europeans thought they were better than the Africans because they were different (pg 72).

In this essay, the author

  • Analyzes how joseph conrad does not think the africans can be seen as humans. marlow refers to the man as a specimen, which shows that he saw them as animals and not human beings.
  • Analyzes how marlow's encounter with the accountant shows how insensitive he was to everything that was going on around him. the europeans did not care about how the africans were suffering.
  • Analyzes how joseph conrad's quote about the europeans' colonization of africa could be considered racist.
  • Analyzes how joseph conrad can be seen as a racist because he writes about the idea that blacks and whites are not equal.
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