Racism In Joseph Conrad's The Heart Of Darkness

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Throughout time, man has faced many difficulties that have put into question the morals of society and humanity. One case in particular is the differentiation and segregation of people based on race. Never has there been an instance in society where this has not come into question, whether it be Medieval Europe or Colonial America, racism has played a substantial role in shaping civilization. With this in mind, it comes to say that culture has too been greatly affected by this atrocity. Literature, movies, and songs have all through the years reflected the views of the time period, some even going as far to shape how people base their views in the future. One novel that has sparked not only controversy, but has been under constant questioning…show more content…
Although, words such as the n-word and relatively vulgar descriptions are utilized throughout the novel, that does not mean they are there simply to belittle the Africans. A leader in the racist side of this campaign is Chinua Achebe who strongly believes that Joseph Conrad’s purpose for this novel was to express his racist views. On the other side, is Caryl Phillips who interviewed Achebe and questioned his ideas. In an interview between two, Achebe said, “ ‘Conrad didn’t like black people. Great artists manage to be bigger than their times. In the case of Conrad you can actually show that there were people at the same time of him, and before him, who were not racists with regard to African’ ” (Phillips 5). In this statement, Achebe is suggesting that Conrad had no right to write the way he did because there were people at the time that were not racist, so why should he be? This, however, is false because Conrad did not write this novel being racist, but instead being part of his time. During the end of the nineteenth-century and beginning of the twentieth, the general consensus of the European population would have, what we now would believe, to be negative views on others that were not them. Although we see them as negative now, that is not how it was seen in the that time period. For instance, the narrator says, “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 king” (Conrad 41). Clearly, Europeans had an entirely different view on the world outside of their country. That is not their fault and Conrad was a part this society. He simply wrote with the views and understandings of the world around that his culture had at that

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