In all reality I think it was his looking back on what he set out to do and how he did it and where it got him and what he became. And the fact that the lack of society helped morph him into what he was trying to change. Regarding the first opinion as to what the horror that Mr. Kurtz was expressing, that he was recollecting on what he came there to do which was bring civilization to Africa. Compared to Europe Africa was far from civilized. Going by what Marlow described, the Africans that were in the camps were chained together and called criminals and savages they were treated like slaves more than human beings.
When he was still a young kid, he had once boasted that he would someday journey to the heart of Africa. However, the actual journey was not at all what he expected it to be. Conrad was shocked at the men in the African colony. He was repulsed by the European colonizers because of the horrible treatment of the natives as well as the unlawful aggressive pursuit of loot. Conrad witnessed atrocities committed by the European colonizers, which helped to form his opinions on the colonization of Africa.
Joseph Conrad’s s book Heart of Darkness portrays an image of Africa that is dark and inhuman. Not only does he describe the actual, physical land of Africa as “so hopeless and so dark, so impenetrable to human thought, so pitiless to human weakness”, (Conrad 154) as though the continent could neither breed nor support any true human life. Conrad lived through a time when European colonies were spread all over the world. This event and the doctrine of colonialism bought into at his time obviously influenced his views at the time of Heart of Darkness publication. Very few people saw anything wrong with colonialism in Africa and the African people.
It is also partially the narrator's story, because his record of what he heard Marlow say is his sole experience. Therefore, faced by a situation where we should not fully ascribe to either Conrad or Marlow, the assumptions of the intent of the novel is based on the reader. This writing style raises the question, which is truly racist, the author or character? By creating a writing style of the point of view from a character, and not the insertion of a authorial perspective, racism seems subjective to the reader. However, For Achebe, Heart of Darkness is racist because it projects the image of Africa as "the other world, the antithesis of Europe .
In the same way that England's motives changed, so does the motives of many of the individuals who enter the dark continent. Kurtz starts out being the best agent the Ivory Company sends to Africa. He comes there with good intentions, not only to do his job for the company, but also he wants to help the natives. As Kurtz himself states, "Each station should be like a beacon on the road towards better things, a centre for trade of course, but also for humanizing, improving, instructing." (p.104).
In this case Marlow (or Conrad) uses Africa as the mirror into the hearts of early Europeans that wished to colonize and only help profit the "less unfortunate". What was it exactly that this unchartered land had in store for Marlow? As Marlow tells his story we see and understand the situations Marlow faced. In his first encounter with the tribes men, Marlow steps into a "gloomy circle of some inferno", where dark figures surrounded him. He compares this incident with that of a massacre, the starving and wasting bodies lying in "confusion".
Imagine what it must be like to live in a world of darkness. Marlow, the main character in Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness experiences this first hand. As he travels through Africa, Marlow lives in a world of darkness as he witnesses the effects of imperialism, drastically altering his view of human kind. In the beginning, Marlow desires to travel to Africa because it is unclaimed land, only to discover imperialism now casts darkness upon the land. As the story progresses, Marlow witnesses the dark treatment of the natives as a result of imperialism.
Joseph Conrad wrote the book, Heart of Darkness, in 1898. He wrote this book touching on many different themes such as imperialism and commerce, darkness imagery, dream and nightmare, isolation, mental and physical illness, truth, and journey. Although all the themes are important to make Heart of Darkness complete, three prevail overall: imperialism and commerce, truth, and journey. Being the author of the book, Joseph Conrad had a personal connection to it. He took his own journey down the Congo River and like Marlow, said that as a child his dreams were to grow up and explore the heart of Africa.
Conrad depicts his ideas about Africa in this way as well as through the character of Marlow. As author Gary Adelman comments on this in his book Heart of Darkness Search for the Unconscious "Africans, in their free state, as described by Marlow, epitomizes not only the primitive condition of humankind, but also an actively demoralizing influence, which a white man coming to Africa must challenge." (p. 69) In many description located in the novel Conrad depicts Africa and it’s people as being dark and of inhuman nature. "It was unearthly, and the men were -No, they were not inhuman. Well, you know, that was the worst of it -this suspicion of t... ... middle of paper ... ... Darkness is that he meant the darkness and wickedness that he saw and associated with European colonialism and imperialistic rule of Africa.