Into the Darkness: How and why is a social group presented in a particular way? Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness takes a multi-faceted approach to the issues that surrounded 19th century colonization and imperialism in Africa. Marlow’s journey into the heart of Africa serves to highlight the hypocrisy of this endeavor, and how this deceit followed the rhetoric utilized by the colonizers in order to justify their colonization of Africa and the treatment of the natives. As the novel progresses, Africa becomes more of a backdrop for Conrad to truly expose the depravity of European intervention in Africa.Through Marlow’s narrative, varying connotations of words and his own main character’s reactions,as well as copious amounts of descriptive imagery, Conrad casts Europeans in a negative light in order to criticize imperialism and colonists. While the events narrated in the story are important in constructing the author’s point of view on imperialism, the narration itself, and the reactions …show more content…
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
“ It was the same kind of ominous voice; but these man could by no stretch of imagination be called enemies” (Conrad 19). Upon seeing the beaten and broken “enemies” Marlow realizes that the European subjugation is not all that it is cracked up to be. It causes serious pain and suffering for the natives of the country, which is particularly shocking to Marlow as Europe claims to be so elevated and
In his book King Leopold’s Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror, and Heroism in Colonial Africa. Hochschild argues that King Leopold’s dreams and aspirations of expansion and conquest are reflected due to his insignificant size of his homeland. The action’s he is willing to take show that he will stop at nothing until his dreams are met. Not only does Hochschild, give several facts about the brutality shown in the Congo.
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.
The book serves as a sharp contrast with the deception of Colonists as well as a symbol of solid realness within a fantastical dream where truth is impossible. When describing the book, Marlow’s diction are highly positive, using words like “honest”, “humble” and “simple”. The direct expression and singleness of intention serves as a contrast with the lies the Colonists tell to conceal the reality in Africa. Europeans justify their bloodthirsty conquest as something they did for a greater cause. In 1876, at the Geographical Conference on Central Africa, King Leopold justified “To open to civilization the only part of our globe which it has not yet penetrated, to pierce the darkness which hangs over entire peoples, is, I dare say, a crusade worthy of this century of progress” (Cleary).
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.
By leading the readers to the main story by telling its backstory, Hochschild effectively supplements his argument of these effects of European imperialism. As Hochschild states briefly in the beginning sentences of the introduction, “The beginnings of this story lie far back in time, and its reverberations still sound today… a central incandescent moment, one that illuminates long decades before and after, is a flash of… moral recognition” (Hochschild 1). He maintains this claim throughout the story by recounting the devastating atrocities that only occurred because of the greedy proclivities of European empires in that time period. Although the book did not maintain a complete chronological order, Hochschild’s fundamental thesis was still manifestly supported and
Heart of Darkness, written by Joseph Conrad, offers key insight into the debate of what constitutes a civilized society compared to an uncivilized one, highlighting the ideals of European imperialism and colonialism that led to great dehumanization among both the oppressed and oppressors. Sigmund Freud’s, Civilization and its Discontents, incorporates the basis of psychoanalytic theory to offer justification for the imperialistic actions portrayed in Heart of Darkness. Conrad’s story is based off a narrative by Marlow, a reticent sailor, who experiences a journey up the Congo River in search of a well-known, idealistic man named Kurtz. The Company, the Belgian organization for which Marlow works, sends he and several other seamen to Africa
Racism in Heart of Darkness 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.
Throughout the novel, we see Conrad gives us idea about how deceiving one could be. For example when Marlow talks about the map unfamiliar Africa and where unknown part are drawn which turns out white on the map of Africa. Africa appears to be dark through exploitation, colonization and exploration of the rest of the continents. Conrad even uses the idea of light and dark to gives us more idea of the inner status of some of the specific character. In the novel ‘Heart of Darkness’ Mr. Kurtz who is an Caucasian man, who has white skin, but who has the darkest and most corrupt soul in the novel.
On his travel to the Central Station, Marlow encounters all types of atrocities from torture up to slavery. The book depicts a very dim picture on the subject of imperialism. Even the way in which they try to defend or justify imperialism are inherently weak. The repeated use of the word ‘trade’ and their treatment of the natives in effort to ‘civilize’ them makes it seem as if the colonizers are benevolent entities that seek only to help the savage.
Joseph Conrad’s story “Heart of Darkness” describes the events of steam boat captain Marlow as he journeys deeper into the unexplored land of Africa during the colonial era. The only thing driving all the men deeper into the unknown is the search for ivory. This continuous want for something so material, referred to as Ivory fever, brought most of the men to experience an absolute change. This change was not because of their new environment but is written as the awakening of man’s true being. During this time of exploration King Leopold believed that the African Congo was cursed by savagery, cannibalism, and despair.
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. Works Cited Qu, Caie.
BRIEF ANALYSIS The use of various literary devices in Joseph Conrad’s novel helps to bring his story to life, which ultimately is to his advantage. Conrad brings the reader into the darkness, displayed the corruptibility of humankind and left them pondering the absurdity of evil and imperialism. One of the strongest literary devices that Conrad uses to engage the reader in his novella is the use of imagery. However other important literary devices that are used throughout the novel as well as in the extract above is: similes, metaphors, personification, foreshadowing, and symbolism and narrative techniques.
Everyone has their own opinions of which cultures are civilized and which are savage. A culture which is civilized is one where morals are set in place and and there is intellectual advancement. Civilized cultures follow a set a moral given to them usually by a government. A savage culture is where there are no morals in place. The people part of this culture do not follow any morals only hoping to survive, with no government intact.
Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad is a story that centers around Marlow, an introverted sailor, and his treacherous journey up the Congo River in search of a man name Kurtz. Unfamiliar with the terrain and natives, Marlow faced many different obstacles that made his journey even more tough. Obstacles like the Congo River and the dense jungles that surround it not only limited the crew progress, but also aroused confusion as well. Joseph Conrad amazing use of descriptive wording and imagery help the readers understand why their surrounding was giving them uneasiness throughout their expedition to meet up with Kurtz. The readers can understand why nature was truly an adversary to Marlow and his crew.