Colonialism and Imperialism in Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness Essay

Colonialism and Imperialism in Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness Essay

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Joseph Conrad's novella, Heart of Darkness, describes a life-altering journey that the protagonist, Marlow, experiences in the African Congo.  The story explores the historical period of colonialism in Africa to exemplify Marlow's struggles.  Marlow, like other Europeans of his time, is brought up to believe certain things about colonialism, but his views change as he experiences colonialism first hand. This essay will explore Marlow's view of colonialism, which is shaped through his experiences and also from his relation to Kurtz.  Marlow's understanding of Kurtz's experiences show him the effects colonialism can have on a man's soul. 

In Europe, colonialism was emphasized as being a great and noble cause.  It was seen as, the white mans mission to help civilize and improve a savage race.  At the beginning of the book, Marlow talks about the Roman conquest of Britain and the similar situation to that of Africa.  The Romans felt the British people were savage and looked down on them because they believed that they had achieved more.  I believe Marlow drew this comparison to ironically show that the Europeans are not as superior as they think and to demonstrate that they t...


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...99. Print.

Goonetilleke, D.C.R.A. "Heart of Darkness: Overview." Literature Resources from Gale. Gale, 1994. Web. 18 Oct. 2014. 

Hillman, James. "Notes on White Supremacy: Essaying an Archetypal Account of Historical Events," Spring (1986): 29-57.

Loe, Thomas. "Heart of Darkness: Overview." Literature Resources from Gale. Gale, 1991. Web. 18 Oct. 2014.

McLynn, Frank. Hearts of Darkness: The European Exploration of Africa. New York: Carol & Gey, 1992.

Patrick Brantlinger, ?Heart of Darkness: Anti-Imperialism, Racism, or Impressionism?? Criticism (Fall, 1985) 364.  





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