As previously mentioned, Chinua Achebe is the best known literary critic of Heart of Darkness. In his essay, “An Image of Africa: Racism in Conrad’s Heart of Darkness,” Achebe clearly presents that he is disgusted with Heart of Darkness and believes “Joseph Conrad [is] a thoroughgoing racist” (1977, pg. 5). Achebe calls attention to many examples where Conrad subjected Africa and its people to racist illustrations and descriptions. One instance of imagery that has stuck with many critics of Heart of Darkness describes the suffering of the Africans. “Near the same tree, two more bundles of acute angles sat with their legs drawn up” (Conrad, 1900, pg. 21). Many have pointed out that this caricature and pose of the African native infantilizes him and takes away his humanity.
Both Achebe and another critic, Memory Chirere, a writer for The Herald, find many faults with Conrad’s stylistic imagery. While Achebe believes that Conrad’s style “[Induces] hypnotic stupor in his readers through a bombardment of emotive words and other forms of trickery,” Chirere calls attention to a different impact cause...
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...ors: An Extravagant Story. London, United Kingdom: William Heinemann.
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Raja, M. A. (2007). Joseph Conrad: The Question of Racism and Representation of Muslims in his Malayan Works. Postcolonial Text, 3(4), 1-12.
Said, E. (1993). Two Visions in Heart of Darkness. Culture and Imperialism, 22-31.
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Svensson, Morgan. (2010). Critical Responses to Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. Flemingsburg, Sweeden: Södertörn University College.
Tindall, William Y. (1966). Apology for Marlow. Conrad’s Heart of Darkness and the Critics (pp. 123-34). By Bruce Harkness. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Publications.
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