In The Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad, a seaman named Marlow examines European imperialism before his very eyes and how it is affecting the natives in the area they are imperializing, which is the Belgian Congo. Conrad conveys to the reader that multiple people have multiple views on the natives and their habitat. On the other hand, Conrad also displays how the natives have different feelings for the Europeans that are intruding on their land. Through Marlow’s eyes, we see a very prospective view as he speaks of how he does not favor the treatment of the natives yet he does nothing to stop it. However, we are also able to see the viewpoints of others. Conrad shows us that the Europeans do not have feelings for the natives and their main motive is to gain more ivory. …show more content…
He first gets his job and we see how excited he is just to begin to explore the seas. However, this begins to change when starts to explore the Congo. When he begins to arrive to the stations and such, we see how he does not appreciate what he is seeing. Conrad uses very descriptive diction at this point to emphasize what kind of point of view we receive from Marlow. When speaking about the slaves chained up together, Marlow says he “could see every rib, the joints...like knots in a rope”(18). Conrad uses this descriptive language to not only show how terrible the conditions were of the natives but also to show how Marlow also can see how terribly they have been treated. This also shows a comparison between what Marlow sees and what the Europeans view. Conrad does not blatantly say what the other Europeans view but as a reader we can assume that they basically feel nothing towards the natives because they are the ones creating the problems and troubles for the natives. Conrad also shows that the Europeans feel like they are helping the “savages” by civilizing them with their own culture and traditions. The motives of these two also contrast greatly and that affects their view
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Conrad’s character Marlow describes the natives as having “a wild vitality” and their “faces like grotesque masks.” These remarks demonstrate his fear and reinforces the distinction between himself and the natives.
Conrad’s main character Marlow is the narrator for most of the story in Heart of Darkness. He is presented as a well-intentioned person, and along his travels he is shocked by the cruelties that he sees inflicted on the native people. Though he is seemingly benevolent and kindly, Marlow shows the racism and ignorance of Conrad and in fact of the majority of white people in his era, in a more subtle way. Marlow uses words to describe the blacks that, though generally accepted in his time, were slanderous and crude. He recalls that some of the first natives he saw in the Congo looked at him “with that complete, deathlike indifference of unhappy savages” (80; part 1). Marlow casually refers to the Africans with the most offensive of language: “Strings of dusty niggers arrived and departed…” (83; part 1). To Marlow, and thus to Conrad, the Africans are savages, dogs, devils, and criminals. Even the stories that Conrad creates for Marlow to narrate are twisted and false. The natives that Marlow deals with in the book are described as cannibals, and they are even given dialogue that affirms th...
Heart of Darkness shows imperialism in more of a physical and psychological perspective. The main character Marlow, in his beliefs, shows a positive side to imperialism. Marlow does openly admit that he does not belong as an invader to this land that is not his; however, he also says that he will try to help these people, the antithesis of most, if not all, of his comrades. Concerning these imperialistic invasions, he says,
Throughout history, many individuals and or communities have experienced marginalization. These individuals and or communities have been oppressed not in just one part of the world, but many different parts of the world. Oppression can vary from colonialism and imperialism to marginalization. Even though, colonialism and imperialism go hand in hand they are different. Colonialism is when one nation rules over another and exploits the resources to benefit the ruling nation. Imperialism refers to the practice of where a nation extends their power by politically or economically taking control. While the marginalization’s of minorities was unavoidable given the idea of modernization, these minorities re-asserted their self-worth to overcome oppression.
Imperialism is the act of one country overtaking another country. Often, the motive behind this is for resources, as portrayed in Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness. Other times, a country may want to expand their territories, or force their beliefs and customs on another land. This is seen in Francis Ford Coppola's Apocalypse Now. In Apocalypse Now, protagonist Jerry Willard is sent on a confidential mission during the Vietnam War. While voyaging up the river, Willard notices the excessive tactics used by the Americans. America advertised that they went to war with Vietnam to prevent the spread of communism. However, it is obvious that throughout most imperialistic literature the group colonizing natives are the true savages. Considering that this theme is frequent among imperialistic writing, one may assume that imperialism is a violent, unnecessary concept used by brutes with no sense of open-mindedness. One may deduce that America may have had an ulterior motive in attempting to take over Vietnam. In Conrad's Heart of Darkness, imperialism is viewed by Marlow as aggressive and insincere. Marlow often notes that the so-called savages show more restraint than the "civilized" men. In Conrad's novel, the genuine reasoning for pillaging African villages is to rob the land of it's most precious resource, ivory. Though, these pieces are contrasting in style, time period, and reasoning; the two works compliment each other and show the horrors of imperialism through the eyes of someone witnessing it.
In Conrad's Heart of Darkness Marlow, the main character, symbolizes the positiveness of Imperialism. Marlow, as a character realizes the evil that negative Imperialism has caused and decides it is truly unnecessary. When Marlow states, "I had got a heavenly mission to civilize you," he expresses his good intentions to help the Africans progress and advance. Furthermore, when he says, "I was an impostor," Marlow recognizes the fact that he is an invader into a foreign land, yet he sticks to his moral values.
In the opening of his novel, Heart of Darkness, Conrad, through Marlow, establishes his thoughts on colonialism. He says that conquerors only use brute force, "nothing to boast of" because it arises, by accident, from another's weakness. Marlow compares his subsequent tale of colonialism with that of the Roman colonization of Northern Europe and the fascination associated with such an endeavor. However, Marlow challenges this viewpoint by painting a heinous picture of the horrors of colonialist ventures as we delve deeper into the recesses of the novel. Here we find that Marlow sees colonization as "robbery with violence, aggravated murder on a great scale, and men going at it blind - as it is very proper for those who tackle darkness." Further, he sees such conquests as taking land and materials away from those people who "have a different complexion or slightly flatter noses." As he understands it, colonization is only successful if there lays within it a "devotion to efficiency" and a creation of civilization, not exploitation (Conrad, 4). In the novel, as seen through the eyes of his narrator Marlow, Conrad offers a frank critique of European imperial colonialism be alluding to the poignant differences between black and white and dark and light.
On September 3, 1945, the world awoke to a feeling of serenity it had only experienced a few times in the past 30 years. The second of two arduous world wars was over, the geographical lines of the globe had been redrawn, and new policies were emerging daily to prevent these events from repeating themselves. With the jarring events that took place in this relatively short time span, a global shift was inevitable and swift moving. A total overhaul of the ideology of humans was in the works in 1945, and human rights (including women, African Americans, Jews, and other minorities) catapulted to the forefront of global politics. But before this could happen, the maps had to be “redrawn.” Individuals who lived through this time period saw the world as they know it change, from
First of all, The Congo was a case that had imperialism dwelling in the roots of the culture. King Leopold II was a monarch from Belgium who decided to bring his regime to the Congo where he would make the natives work as slaves for his labor. In The Heart of Darkness, Marlow was the main character was provided a chance to visit the Congo and gladly accepted due to his thirst of exploration. Although, when he arrived he realized the natives there were essentially being used as pawns and replied with the following remark “They were dying slowly—it was very clear. They were not enemies, they were not criminals, they were nothing earthly now, - nothing but black shadows of disease
Tenets of this theory that can be acted upon in interpreting text are questioning the system of values that support imperialism, questioning how imperialist colonizing powers are expanding, and focusing on victims of racism, military expansion, and exploitation. (Bertens, Hans) The text “Heart of Darkness” by Joseph Conrad was placed back in colonial times. The text is about a man who learns the truth about colonization and what the colonizing powers were really up to. A man named Marlow goes on a journey from England to Africa to find another man named Kurt, whom the colonizing powers (also known as the company) assume is being held captive by the natives and/or probably dead. Marlow discovers that the company did not actually send him and the ship’s crew out there to look for Kurt, but to steal ivory. When he finally reaches Kurt he soon discovers that Kurt has sided with the natives and the more Marlow learns about the company, the more he agrees with Kurt. (Conrad,
“ The conquest of the earth, which mostly means the taking it away from those who have a different complexion or slightly flatter noses than ourselves, is not a pretty thing when you look into it too much.” (Conrad 65) So stated Marlow as though this was his justification for ravaging the Congo in his search for ivory. Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness shows the disparity between the European ideal of civilization and the reality of it as is evidenced by the domination, torture, exploitation and dehumanization of the African population. Heart of Darkness is indicative of the evil and greed in humanity as personified by Kurtz and Marlow.
Conrad's "Heart of Darkness" is, as Edward Said says, a story about European "acts of imperial mastery" (1503)-its methods, and the effects it has on human nature-and it is presumable that Conrad incorporates much of his own experience in the Congo and his opinions about imperialism into the story, as another recent critic also suggests: "he seems to approve of Marlow," the narrator (Achebe 1492). These revelations of the author are conveyed to the reader through Marlow's observations, descriptions, reactions, and statements. While "Heart of Darkness" is at times very critical of European imperialism, that criticism for the most part is directed at the false idealistic claims made about the enterprise and the inefficient and savage methods employed by the Belgians; the book does not question imperialism when undertaken competently, particularly by the British.
At the beginning of the novel, Marlow is traveling the jungle and the many scenes of life can be seen. Africa has seems to be taken over by many travelers which makes one wonder what is there ulterior motive? Africa is a third world country, which makes it easy for someone to come in and talk on their soapbox. It is very easy to tell that these men are not the biggest fans of colored people, so it is plausible that they have come to instill a sense of imperialism. As Marlow passes through the waters of the Congo it is easily visible the trouble of the natives. “Black shapes crouched, lay, sat between the trees, leaning against the trunks, clinging to the earth half coming out, half effaced with the dim light, in all the attitudes of pain, abandonment, and despair.” (20) Show that the holding of these colonies has started. The soldiers have come in and taken the inhabitants and are destroying them and taking from them the one thing they deserve over everything, life. The imperialists seem to not care about the Africans and are just there for their land.
Through several examples, Conrad often shows the pointlessness and savagery of the English colonization in Africa. Probably the first instance of this is when Marlow comes up to the French-man who is "shelling the bush". In this scene, the French see something move and so they start shelling it for that reason. The shelling really does no good; if fact, it probably does not even kill what is out there. This represents what the English are doing in a way -- they are trying to conquer a land by shelling it to death and by trying to kill all the people who live there. The next example that Conrad gives is when he sees the black guard, who is leading the black slaves in a chain gang, straighten up when he sees a white man. What this shows is how everyone tries to look better than they are when they are in front of a supposed superior person. Also it shows that if a person can suck up enough -- and sometimes betray their own people -- they can move up in the world.
One interpretation of Marlow's relationship to colonialism is that he does not support it. Conrad writes, "They were not enemies, they were not criminals, they were nothing earthly now,-nothing but black shadows of disease and starvation, lying confusedly in the greenish gloom" (p. 27-28). Marlow says this and is stressing that the so-called "savages", or Africans, are being treated and punished like they are criminals or enemies when in fact they never did anything. He observes the slow torture of these people and is disgusted with it. Marlow feels sympathy for the black people being slaved around by the Europeans but doesn't do anything to change it because that is the way things are. One can see the sympathy by the way that he gives a starving black man one of his biscuits. "To tear treasure out of the bowels of the land was their desire, with no moral purpose at the back of it than there is in burglars breaking into a safe" (p. 54). This statement by Marlow conveys that he doesn't believe that the Europeans have a right to be stripping Africa of its riches. He views the Jungles of Africa as almost it's own living, breathing monster.