The Theme of Racial Intolerance in Conrad's Heart of Darkness Essay

The Theme of Racial Intolerance in Conrad's Heart of Darkness Essay

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It is commonly argued that ‘Heart of Darkness’ is nothing more than a racial tirade from a misinformed Englishman. Although Conrad is not misinformed and has no intention of fronting a racist point of view, when the treatment of Africans in the text is closely examined, the theme of racism is presented so deliberately all other themes merely fade into the background.
Conrad’s evocation of the African environment and population preaches racial intolerance and creates a stark contrast between the life of Europeans and Africans. The constant slandering of the African population as “niggers” and “cannibals” and “savages” and the referral to the continent as an immense “Heart of Darkness” are the base examples of this racial intolerance. But despite this racist viewpoint, Conrad is merely conveying the language and prevailing attitude of the day; that Africa is considered as subordinate to Western civilization. However, Marlow’s observation of the Indigenous population of Africa develops on the idea of racial intolerance. The dancing Africans on the riverbank yield the first example of t...

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