Ignorance of another's personal values or situation results in an impassable schism between the two parties. People fail to understand each other, and as such, they regard each other in lower lights. In “Heart of Darkness”, Joseph Conrad, through Marlow, writes his novella through a lense of ignorance and the perspective of the typical white person of the time in order to relate his story to the reader. Marlow and the accountant are contrasted with Kurtz to display the effects of evil on an individual. The majority of the novella is told from Marlow’s perspective.
The racism that was so normalized among Conrad and his peers has since placed his novel under attack by Chinua Achebe, who claimed that “Art is not intended to put people down. If so, the art would ultimately discredit itself” and that if it pulled out and dehumanized such a large portion of the human race, it could truly not be considered a work of art (Phillips). Yet, the racism embedded in the novel played a much larger part than merely being racism. Both Conrad and Marlow are clearly racist, but Conrad knows that the superiority held by the Europeans was wrong, and he uses Marlow to view that and to show that there is a possibility for it to change. He knows that although he could see no alternative, it was possible just as he saw with Imperialism.
Africa is in fact filled with diverse culture and has an established civilizations with languages, customs, and spirit. Unlike in Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad depicts Africa as it is commonly stereotyped. He views Africa in the point of view of colonizing Europeans; a place that is primitive and deserted and lacks all aspects of a good-natured culture. Africans are portrayed as savages with animal-like features, who are thought of as less than the European. The prejudices made by the Europeans are evident throughout Conrad’s novel, however, two books have counteracted that idea and tried to prove the well developed society that exists all over Africa.
A single story can be dangerous for the simple fact that we miss the whole story. The one-sided view on life can lead to stereotypes and judgement of others. Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness is an example of this single story. This Polish-British writer is claimed to be a great author, with Heart of Darkness being his most popular work. In this novel he speaks through his main character Marlow about white settlers colonizing Africa, harming, exploiting and, portraying the natives in many inhumane ways.
The main character, Marlow, in Joseph Conrad’s 1910 novel The Heart of Darkness begins his journey into Africa skeptical of what might occur, but naive to the true horrors that were in stake for the young man. Marlow’s detailed descriptions of the sights and torturous actions towards the natives he witnesses along his journey lead to many literary critics to deem Conrad a racist. One author notorious for calling Joseph Conrad out on his racist remarks is Chinua Achebe who gained fame from his article “An Image of Africa: Racism in Conrad’s Heart of Darkness”. Achebe’s article professes that almost everything within Conrad’s novel is an act of pure racism. This, however, is not the case, as Conrad was just telling the truth of what occurred within Africa during the time of European colonization.
In the book Heart of Darkness, the author Joseph Conrad explores the age of imperialism through his own mentality and personal experiences. through the use of the literary analysis technique New Historicism readers can analyze Conrad’s story by looking into the author himself, the time period the book was written in, and social movements during the time. Because of this, readers can draw conclusions to the meaning of this novella in an elaborate and enriching manner. Heart of Darkness dives into a deeper meaning than what a typical European story of Imperialism would, giving readers a sense of Conrad 's own dark heart: the same dark heart and mind that aids in his portrayal of his characters, the storyline and the tone the book gives off.
Jennifer Brooks associates Heart of Darkness with dreams and dream-like imagery through Marlow, Kurtz, and the Congo. The underlying truths for Marlow are repressed by him as his realization of Kurtz’ “Horror” is he is part of it himself. Brooks’ article is filled with associations of Sigmund Freud to the Conrad’s novella in which Marlow’s abstract narrative portrays dream-thoughts as it does in Interpretation of Dreams. Marlow is unable to grasp what he see’s in Africa and describes it in hazy-like imagery to the reader. Though, there is meaning to this dream-like presentation in that it is the truth of the Congo.
Racism in Heart of Darkness Heart of Darkness is a novella written by Polish- British writer Joseph Conrad in 1899. Since it was written Heart of Darkness has been criticized as a colonial work. One of the critics who condemn Joseph Conrad and his work has been the Nigerian authors and critics Chinua Achebe in his work "An Image of Africa: Racism in Conrad 's 'Heart of Darkness". Achebe considers Conrad as “a thoroughgoing racist” (Achebe 5) for depicting Africa as "the other world" (Achebe 2). The aim of this study is to examine Heart of Darkness referring to the Achebe’s ideas in his 1977 essay.
One, with his chin propped on his knees, stared at nothing, in an intolerable and appalling manner: his brother phantom rested its forehead, as if overcome with a great weariness; and all about others were scattered in every pose of contorted collapse, as in some picture of a massacre or a pestilence (Conrad, 26). The European exploration into “unexplored” Congo has not only destroyed natives’ lives but also the voyagers’ in spiritual ways. In Heart of Darkness, Conrad reflects his pessimistic views of human nature through the negative changes characters go through as their conditions change. In other words, he emphasizes how every man becomes overwhelmed by his inborn evil spirit that comes out as he gets closer to “the darkness”, separated from a civilized
Introduction Anti-colonialist? Or a bloody racist? Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness is one of the most gruesome images ever depicted in Western literature. Employing the cultural studies criticism, new insights regarding the ideological discourses of the novella, both conscious and unconscious to the author, can be shed, in the two conflicting terms of anti-colonialism and racism. Further on, given the immense complexity and vagueness, the novella can also be interpreted as a prototype of new historicist criticism or cultural criticism, which embodies two conflicting views simultaneously.