Essay on Imperialism and the Heart of Darkness

Essay on Imperialism and the Heart of Darkness

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In the early 1900s, imperialism was one of the last things worrying people in America. In Africa, however, imperialism was a monumental concern. Scarcely more than a hundred years ago (and continuing for over fifty years), millions of Africans were being enslaved in their home country, which was being taking over by Europeans. Forced to work until they died of exhaustion and malnutrition, these slaves lived a life of agony. This time of injustice and horror is vividly captured in Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, where the darkness and pure evil of humanity comes to life. While following the journey of Marlow, the protagonist, the readers travel into the depths of not only Africa, but of the human soul, where heartless acts take place. Heart of Darkness is much more than a work of pure fiction; it’s a recording based on the horrible, historical truth.
What, exactly, is imperialism? According to Mueni Wa Muiu, imperialism is “the economic, cultural and political domination or control of one county or group of people in ways assumed to be at the expense of the latter” (Wa Muiu). The events taking place in Conrad’s Heart of Darkness certainly concur with this definition. At one point in Marlow’s narrative, he comes upon a grove in the woods where natives of Africa are literally sitting in the shade, waiting to die. Marlow describes them as having “attitudes of pain, abandonment, and despair,” noting that they were “dying slowly,” and that these men had become “nothing more but black shadows of disease and starvation” (Conrad 83). During another part of Marlow’s narrative, he describes how men were linked together with heavy chains, keeping them together while being forced to do the labor of the white men (Conrad 81).
Wa Muiu continu...


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...emic Search Complete. Web. 10 May 2014.
Bowers, Terence N. "Shelters And Enclosures In Joseph Conrad's HEART OF DARKNESS." Explicator 71.4 (2013): 309. Biography Reference Bank (H.W. Wilson). Web. 10 May 2014.
Conrad, Joseph. A Personal Record. New York: Harper & Brothers Publishers, 1912. Web.
Conrad, Joseph. Heart of Darkness and The Secret Sharer. New York: Signet Classic, 1997. Print.
Oates, Joyce C. Introduction. Heart of Darkness and The Secrect Sharer. By Joseph Conrad. Ney York: Signet Classic, 1997. Print.
Wa Muiu, Mueni. "Civilization" On Trial: The Colonial And Postcolonial State In Africa." Journal Of Third World Studies 25.1 (2008): 73-93. Sociological Collection. Web. 10 May 2014.
White, Harry, and Irving L. Finston. "The Two River Narratives In Heart Of Darkness." Conradiana 42.1/2 (2010): 1. Biography Reference Bank (H.W. Wilson). Web. 10 May 2014.

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