The Controversy over Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

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Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad is one of the most widely recognized and acclaimed novellas written. But with fame and recognition comes controversy, which is clearly demonstrated by the broad interpretations of the book. Many people believe Heart of Darkness is racist, while others believe the book is perfectly civil. Chinua Achebe, one of Africa's most renowned novelists, strongly believes that the book is dehumanizing and racist; I agree with him, to a certain extent. Three of the most prominent ways that Achebe discusses Conrad’s racism is by the way the African people are portrayed, the African culture, and the comparison of Europe to Africa.
First off, Achebe believes that Conrad dehumanizes the African people, making them into objects rather than thinking and living human beings. He pointed out that Conrad depicts the Africans as “savages,” for example when Conrad says, “...and going up this river.. Sand banks, marshes, forests, savages, - precious little to eat fit for a civilized man,” it might seem as though Conrad is suggesting that these “savages” are far inferior...

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