Summary Of Racism In Joseph Conrad's Heart Of Darkness

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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. European colonization devastated the way of life for many native Africans during the 1800s and early 1900s. These colonizers originally
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