In life, people tend to turn a blind eye to or find it challenging to come to terms with their inner corruption, depravity, and despair. In Joseph Conrad’s profound novella Heart of Darkness, however, humanity’s darker side is addressed in a way that is impossible to ignore. Conrad’s meticulous utilization of diction and symbols captivates and enthralls the reader while also heavily contributing to the overall success and meaning of the novella. In his passage, Conrad, instead of adhering to the traditional notions of purity and evil associated with the symbols of light and dark, intentionally subverts and intermingles them to reveal underlying themes concerning the immorality inherent in human nature and the unbelievably horrific tragedies
In Heart of Darkness the idea of imperialism was under an immense pressure, and Kurtz exemplifies this idea with his initial beliefs when entering the Congo. Kurtz’s description of the situation as “an exotic Immensity ruled by an august Benevolence” is sharply contrasted by his statement to “exterminate all the brutes” in his report (Conrad 50-51). In Heart of Darkness, the western view of the Congo is drastically false; they believe that the natives are naive and savage. This idea, similar to that of the Americans, highlights the major differences in culture. The people of the Congo think that Kurtz is some sort of god even though he wants to eliminate them from their home. After having spent time with the natives, however, Kurtz flips his viewpoint and wants to become part of their wild and uncivilized life. The Poisonwood Bible introduces a similar contradiction in the American ideals of democracy being transferred into Africa and the natives’ belief that they are superior because of America’s power in the world. Anatole describes that “most of [the natives] believe white people know how to turn the sun on and off and make the river flow backward [...] They think [the white people] represent a greedy nation” (Kingsolver 281) which further emphasizes the importance of contrasting viewpoints to portray the cultural differences of both America and the Congo. This also presents the assumptions the Congolese people make based on white stereotypes. Contrary to how the Americans think of the Congolese as cannibalistic or naive, the Congolese believe that Americans are greedy, superhuman
This greed grew strong and grew into the establishment of imperialism through the use of slavery. While the greed is still growing the English have know lost all of their moral value and have cast aside the meaning of life for the Natives of the Congo. This hunger of greed allowed the civilized to become the uncivilized “savages” they paint the Natives to be. Mr. Kurtz is the man that the english view as the idol in a way but dies seeing “The Horror”(154) of all the darkness the “light”(68) has made.
Hunt Hawkins presents the controversy that Joseph Conrad’s, Heart of Darkness, encounters, as its contents portray Africans as dehumanizing, savage, and uncivilized beings. In order to provide a sufficient amount of information with regards to the controversy, Hawkins introduces the analysis of distinct scholars to describe racism, imperialism, and human nature. As a result, an analysis of the characters are provided to the audience and allow an individual to understand why Conrad decided to write Heart of Darkness the way he did. Thus, during this process, Hawkins describes the manifestation of the darkness that eventually consumes Kurtz.
In the novel, the natives of Africa are first introduced with the use of animal imagery. The sentence “A lot of people, mostly black and naked, moved about like ants,” describes the Africans that were building the railroad. By describing the men as “ants”, their insignificance in Marlow’s life is highlighted. To Marlow, the Africans hold no importance and he sees them as nothing more than insects. Moreover, Marlow describes the Africans as having “faces like grotesque masks”. The negative connotation of the word “grotesque” seeks to show the preconceived notions Marlow had regarding the Blacks. Never having come across a Black man before, the
In their respective works, Barbara Kingsolver and Joseph Conrad give to the reader their main idea, through the internal reassessment of their characters. Though written 100 years apart Kingsolver’s Poisonwood Bible and Conrad’s Heart of Darkness both include the theme of a transformation of a major character. To show this theme Kingsolver uses her character of Leah Price, while Conrad uses his character of Charles Marlow.
The way Marlow describes about Africa shows that he feel sympathy towards the Africa country. This is because they live in a place which was poor conditions, no development and modernization occurs. It portrays his sadness and sympathy towards the situation. This can be seen in the novel when Marlow stated that the Africa land was such as “a creeping mist” and “the jungle being so dark green it is almost black”. The sensitivity of Marlow when he illustrated the surroundings around him brings a perception to the readers about his sympathy attitudes towards the situation in Africa.
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.
The author uses this retrospectivity to convey what his character could not grasp as the events were transpiring, but came to understand later on. Through these semi-epiphanies, Conrad accentuates the reality versus the preconceived notion of idealistic imperialism. By contrasting it, the author discredits the claim of imperialism as an altruistic enterprise, and characterizes it as a greed-centered operation. Marlow claims that the entire endeavor was simply “ robbery with violence, aggravated murder on a great scale, and men going at it blind” (Conrad 8). This, however, is not an observation that would have been made previous to the voyage. This comparison of the colonizers to robbers and murderers is based off of his experience in the Congo, where the idea of do-gooders was disproved and replaced with a much harsher truth of the European colonizer’s selfishness and corrupt
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.
‘Heart of Darkness’ was written in 1899 by a Polish novelist Joseph Conrad, about the expedition up the Congo River in the Heart of Africa. This essay will mainly deal with the reference of the ‘darkness’ in the novel and it even deals with the theme which will further support the statement.
Marlow tells his shipmates on the boat (the Nelly) that the natives passed him “within six inches, without a glance, with that complete, deathlike indifference of unhappy savages” (16). Marlow’s story of his experience exhibits how the Europeans captured the natives and forced them to work; to strip their home land of its resources and natural beauty. When the Europeans colonize Africa, they do not want to help the African people, but exploit them and put them to work for their own desire of obtaining ivory, rubber, and other resources and goods. As the Europeans imperialize the area, they do not build culture or assist in development of the Congo region, but break down culture as they enslave the natives and take away their rights, along with stripping the area of resources and natural, earthly beauty, which is conveyed through the cruel physical treatment towards the natives. This treatment is also presented through the literary devices that Conrad decides to use to reveal the experiences of the natives to the
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. Hugh Curtler refutes Achebe’s statements in his literary criticism “Political Correctness and the Attack on Great Literature”. This article takes a practical viewpoint about the book and stresses the point that Conrad was trying to explain the events that occurred during his time in Africa in a style of writing for the people at the time. Literary critics like Achebe label Conrad as complete racist, however, he is, in fact, the complete opposite as he utilizes this story as a way to paint a picture of the cruel actions that occurred at the time.
Imperialism in general refers to the power of a country over another country or the power of a person over another person. According to Evans the Scramble for Africa (1880-1900) was the era of imperialism. The Europeans leaders were fighting among themselves to colonize the African continent because Africa was rich in ivory. In 1884 Berlin Conference was held to decide the future of Africa. They finalized to create free trade in the Congo region, free navigation and created rules to divide Africa among themselves. Joseph Conrad wrote Heart of Darkness during this period so, those historical backgrounds on colonization help to portray the theme of imperialism in this novel. In Heart of Darkness, Conrad portrays themes of imperialism in three different views through his main character Marlow. Therefore, this essay argues on how Heart of Darkness comment on Imperialism based on the power of the colonizers, the power of Mr. Kurtz and imperialistic view of Conrad over women.