Racism in Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness

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As I walked into class, I saw in bold letters “RACISM” written on the board, I myself wasn’t fond of this topic. Racism was a dark part of human history, and it brings about many emotions and anger towards people that choose to be racist. One student asked the teacher “why should we hear these stories about the suffering these people went through?” She responded “If we choose to forget what happened, then we won’t know about our past, we can’t pretend like racism didn’t occur, or should we? We should remember how Africans fought and how they progressed even thought the world was against them for some time.” As I sat there listening, I conceived of the agony and the criticism given to humans just like us, and it made me feel their emotion and pain. Then realization hit, we hear very vivid and sad news reports about racism, simply not to be racist ourselves, only to indicate the reason it’s bad and inhumane. If racial discrimination was shown as, not offending anyone, then why would anyone care to check? When you describe racism, people tend to believe you, yourself believes in these matters, but what they don’t see is the picture you’re attempting to register. (US History Colonial to 1877, Fall2013) This story came to mind when I read of Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. 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? Works Cited Achebe, C. "An Image of Africa: Racism in Conrad's Heart of Darkness." Heart of Darkness. By Joseph Conrad. Ed. Paul B. Armstrong. 4th Ed. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2005. 336-49. Print. Conrad, J. Heart of Darkness. Ed. Paul B. Armstrong. 4th Ed. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2005. Print. Miller, J.H. “Should we read “Heart of Darkness.” Heart of Darkness. By Joseph Conrad. Ed. Paul B. Armstrong. 4th Ed. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2005. 463-74. Print. Orwell, O. “Shooting an Elephant.” One Hundred Great Essays. By Robert Diyanni. 3rd Ed. New York: Pearson Longman, 2008. 531-37. Print.
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