The Heart Of Darkness By John Conrad

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The Heart of Darkness is seen as a classic that many say shouldn’t be taught and many of those who think it should thinks the reader need to be very critical of it. The debate of it being taught stems from the debate of whether Conrad and his narrative are racist. Many have addressed the idea of racism, and furthermore how he depicts Africans. In my opinion, it is clearly a racist story, whether intentionally or unintentionally, it has racist tones especially when read by a modern day reader. On the other hand his view of Africans is also interesting to analysis, as it is questioned, just with the racism, if his views of them are just mirroring the popular opinion of the time. Undoubtedly though any analysis I have with be quite different from those who have done analysis of it in the past because of the beliefs of the modern day society that I live in. For a modern reader, the book seems inherently racist, which can most likely be contributed to the differing opinions of race and the progressing state of our society. Now during the time it was likely not seen as offensive and surely not racist because the terms regarding racism didn’t quite exist yet. This said, I would label at least his narrative racist, I’m still not quite sure I’d label Conrad, himself racist but I can recognize the side that says that it is just reminiscent of the views of the time as the racism I recognize in the novel is mainly based off the fact that his beliefs were common for the time. Personally though, just because they beliefs were common I don’t belief it excuses the fact that it is still racist. The time Conrad lived in was racist inherently making his narrative inherently racist and most likely him also. His racism can be seen in the words he us... ... middle of paper ... ...ook as Achebe does because I don’t believe Conrad really intended it to be racist. It might be a very racist novella as Achebe states but, much of that racism can be contributed to the time period, and the novella it gives an interesting view in other aspects such as its depiction of imperialism. There is honestly no way this novel couldn’t be considered racist, in either the way of it being completely and offensively racist or the racism being a byproduct of the time period, either way there are clearly sentiments in it that depicts deep racism. Just as his view of the Africans being seen as objects rather than humans was a common and not surprising view that the book held due to the period. Now obviously a critic of the novel in our time is more likely to believe so in the past, so when a reader should analyses’ it they need to keep the period of society in mind.
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