Heart of Darkness and Wide Sargasso Sea: Depiction and Effect Due to Colonization

Heart of Darkness and Wide Sargasso Sea: Depiction and Effect Due to Colonization

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Heart of Darkness and Wide Sargasso Sea:
Depiction and Effect Due to Colonization
Both Heart of Darkness and Wide Sargasso Sea deal with Englishmen, Charles Marlow and Mr. Rochester, who are placed in unfamiliar and different environments than accustomed to. These two characters not only deal with their own personal struggles, but are connected to the struggles of people close to them (namely Kurtz and Antoinette).Joseph Conrad and Jean Rhys attribute these hardships to the effects of colonialism. Conrad mainly uses Kurtz as his symbol for colonialism, while Rhys uses Mr. Rochester. The ways in which these two characters interact with their new settings move the narratives.
Throughout Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad points to the hypocrisy and horrors associated with colonialism. The half-English, half-French Kurtz is the main vehicle used to convey his theme of European colonialism, as “all [of] Europe contributed to the making of Kurtz” (Conrad 164). It was Kurtz who goes to Africa for the "sake of loot, and thus becomes a great literary symbol for the decadence of colonialism" (Zins 63). With his help, Marlow dissects the reasoning behind colonialism, eventually seeing its evil nature.
Kurtz was the chief of the Inner Station, where he was in charge of a very important ivory-trading post. Marlow learns that because of Kurtz’s ability to obtain more ivory than anybody else, he is of “greatest importance to the Company” and is to become a “somebody in the Administration” (Conrad 143). However, a critical aspect is the way in which he went about his business, as it was ruthless and selfish, characteristics that go hand-in-hand with European colonization.
Despite being such an integral character, Kurtz, for the most ...


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...nd Helen Tiffin. Key Concepts in Post-colonial Studies. London: Routledge, 1999. Print.

Bausch, Richard, and R. V. Cassill. "Heart of Darkness." The Norton Anthology of Short Fiction. New York: W.W. Norton, 2006. 126-86. Print.

Gilbert, Sandra M., and Susan Gubar. The Madwoman in the Attic: the Woman Writer and the Nineteenth-century Literary Imagination. New Haven: Yale UP, 2000. Print.

Hay, Eloise Knapp. The Political Novels of Joseph Conrad: a Critical Study. Chicago: University of Chicago, 1972. 120. Print.

Rhys, Jean, and Judith L. Raiskin. "Wide Sargasso Sea." Wide Saragossa Sea: Backgrounds, Criticism. New York: W.W. Norton, 1998. 3-112. Print.

Zins, Henryk S. "Joseph Conrad and the Early British Critics of Colonialism in the Congo." Lubelskie Materiały Neofilologiczne 22.(1998): 155-169. MLA International Bibliography. EBSCO. Sun. 08 May 2011.

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