The Role Of Imperialism In Joseph Conrad's Heart Of Darkness

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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
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