Comparing Foucault's Idiot And Heart Of Darkness

2138 Words9 Pages
Foucault was a French philosopher and anthropologist whose work was dedicated to the study of reason and power in modern society in a number of different modalities including the treatment of the insane, in Madness and Civilisation (1961); the sick in Birth of the Clinic (1963); and the criminal in Discipline and Punishment (1975) (Fine 2009:1). As Klages states, Foucault is particularly interested in how discourse creates relations of power/knowledge concerning human bodies. . . He particularly focuses on questions of health and illness, sanity and madness, lawabiding and criminal actions/bodies, and normal and deviant sexualities (2006:144). The main focus of Foucault’s philosophy was power relations in modern society and how it can be used to control people. This originated from an intense disliking of the bourgeois society and its culture. He sympathised with groups at the margins of the bourgeoisie, such as the mentally ill, homosexuals and prisoners (Gutting 2014:2). This essay will analyse how Foucault’s theories can be applied to discourse in literature with specific reference to the short story, “The Idiots” and the novel, “Heart of Darkness” both written in the 19th century by Joseph Conrad. Both texts explore the thin line between sanity and insanity. Mental illness is a topic that has been considered a taboo write about for…show more content…
They said he had caused the fire in some way; be that as it may, he was screeching most horribly” (Conrad 2013:27). We later read that the colonizers see this as the only way to prevent “conflagrations” for the future (Conrad 2013:30). In addition, the Africans are not given names. They are referred to in derogatory terms and words such as “shadows”. The natives are forced to work under the power of the European colonizers, but it is clear from the novel that they do not do it
Open Document