Summary Of Joseph Conrad's Heart Of Darkness

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This thesis will revolve around the critical reception of Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. It has generated a great debate about whether this novella is racist or not. This is due to the description of the African people by the protagonist Marlow, a British seaman, as he recounts his journey to Congo. The focus will be on the works of two famous writers. Firstly, the Nigerian writer Chinua Achebe with his famous pronouncement that Conrad is “a thoroughgoing racist” in his famous lecture “An image of Africa” in 1975, his novel Things Fall Apart as a response to Heart of Darkness and finally his brilliant interview with the American journalist Bill Moyers in which we learn more about Achebe’s insights on the important issues of the African people during and after colonization. Secondly, the Kittitian-British Caryl Phillips who defends Conrad’s novella in his article “Out of Africa” in 2003 and his own response to the short novel with “Heartland”, the first section of his book Higher Ground. This thesis will explore how these two critics have been influenced and how conclusions regarding Heart of Darkness have changed over time. In addition, I will also explain why Chinua Achebe might feel that Conrad’s work is a true offense to the African people. After all, his primary focus has been the identity of Africans after they gained their independence. Caryl Phillips defends the novella against Achebe and sees its author as a man who “understood the fragility identity” .
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