Chinua Achebe: To Denounce Heart Of Darkness

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2. Comparison in Terms of Purpose 2.1. Achebe: To Denounce Heart of Darkness Chinua Achebe redefined our way of reading Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. Indeed, while focusing on the description of Africa and its people, the Nigerian writer laid serious charges against the book for its racist stereotypes and highlighted the colonizer’s oppression of the natives. In truth, thirty-four years after his first delivered public lecture “An image of Africa”, excoriating the book, he spoke against it again in an interview with Robert Siegel, an American journalist in NPR radio, where he argued that the novella is only the product of “a seductive writer and who could pull his reader into the fray”. Thus, he wanted to disclose the truth about the hidden…show more content…
Indeed, Africans are depicted as funny beings incapable of speech and only exchanging “short grunting sounds” (Conrad 56). Such description may refer to the fact that Africans are seen as being so primitive that they are even unable to communicate amongst themselves. What is more interesting is that Achebe seemed to believe that in the novella Africans are just as onlookers on their own continent and that they are attributed speech only in two occurrences. He reports that the first one is when “cannibalism gets the better of them” (6) and the Nigerian writer supported his claim by quoting a passage in which the Africans are described as barbaric, eating human flesh. Indeed, Marlow recounts his discussion with the headman who explains to him that the hungry natives were preparing to attack savages in order to eat them “Catch 'im" he snapped with a bloodshot widening of his eyes and a flash of sharp teeth—"catch 'im. Give 'im to us." " To you, eh?" I asked; "what would you do with them?" "Eat 'im!" he said curtly…” (Conrad 56). The second case is to announce that “Mistah Kurtz—he dead” (Conrad 99). Achebe animadverted on the fact that this choice of
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