Joseph Conrad’s novella Heart of Darkness, which describes the colonization of Africa and its ramifications, was published in 1899 when colonialism and imperialism were still at their full strength. Many have praised the story as an excellent example of anti-imperialism, but there are some critics who think quite opposite, insisting that it is racist. In my opinion, Heart of Darkness does provide subtle criticism of imperialism, but dehumanizing descriptions of Africa and its natives are much more prominent and therefore leave stronger impression on the readers. In the 19th and 20th century it was a universal truth that black people are inferior and uncivilized beasts and that it is white people’s duty to bring them on the right track – to
As Marlow goes deeper into the heart of the continent, Conrad’s depiction of Africa is infused with a sense of fear loathing and abomination coupled with a sense that there is some dire evil at work; a malevolent force that carries out the acts of inhumanity. Illustrations of Joseph Conrad’s don’t only focus on Africa as a continent but also carries on the physical and mental characterization of the natives. The author describes Marlow’s first encounter with an African ceremony as, “a burst of yells, a whirl of black limbs, a mass of hands clapping, of feet stamping, of bodies swaying, of eyes rolling” (Joseph 57). Joseph Conrad goes portrays Marlow’s reaction to this somewhat bewildering frenzy of the natives “as sane men would be before an enthusiastic outbreak in a madhouse” (Joseph 58). Conrad’s description of these people shows them as deranged, frenzied, and intense feverish savages, not an image any modern day western writer would dare to warm up to.
Group A, Question 1 The imperialistic mindset of racial superiority and its justification of unspeakable brutality were a defining feature of the interactions that the European had when facing non-Europeans. The Europeans’ mentality of expansion and the use of a good vs evil mentality really defined the way in which the Europeans interacted and exploited people. In Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness he delves into the imperialism and the issues surrounding it. 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.
In closing Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness and James Cameron’s Avatar illustrate imperialism through continuous use of light and dark to show the opposition between the two as well as the darkness pushing to take over the light. They differ, however, because in Avatar the darkness represents the imposing imperialists from Earth and in Heart of Darkness they represent the suppressed Congolese Natives. In Avatar, the darkness is seen trying to overtake the light through both the visual appearance of the Na’vi and in a conversation between Neytiri and Jake about Seeing. In Heart of Darkness this same idea is illustrated through the darkness of the Intended’s appearance and dress. This concept of darkness overtaking the light illustrates imperialism because one force always wants to have the most control, be it the imperialists or otherwise.
The ironic paradox that there are choices in politics, yet at the same time Irwin does not have a choice when blackmailed, shows the unfairness of extortion, and demonstrates the fallacy, argumentum ad baculum: a threat that does not offer the audience options (Heinrichs 178). Furthermore, Jack attempts to downplay the unethicality of extortion by redefining blackmail as pressure because it “is a prettier word” (Warren 483). By rejecting the opponent’s definition, Jack avoids validating Irwin’s argument (Heinrichs 117). Due to its immorality, Willie’s decision to blackmail Irwin resulted in the corruption of justice, symbolized through Irwin, and ultimately lead to his suicide. Thus, Irwin’s death showed that the unfairness of blackmail overpowered Willie’s logic behind extortion, but in reality, both sides lost since Willie’s threat failed and Irwin’s newfound information led to his demise.
Topic: How did the Belgians imagine the Congolese as a species other than themselves, and how did this cultural construction of “race” allow them to do things that seem (to us) radically inconsistent with the tenets of nineteenth-century Liberalism? Additionally, What other factors attribute to the late reaction to King Leopold’s atrocities? Thesis: A modern reading of Hochschild’s King Leopold’s Ghost creates an outrage because of the atrocities that freely occurred during colonialism. However, those who lived through this dark time 19th century were not quick to object to much of the “civilizing” that was occurring, infact many were for it. The Belgians, had imagined a culture of “foreign animals” that was so deeply ingrained in their colonial
‘Iago is such a disturbing villain because he seems to have no real motives for his evil.’ How far and in what ways do you agree with this view? Iago is nothing more than a devious mastermind and Machiavellian of the Shakespearean tragedy, Othello. Whilst Iago does try to communicate multiple reasons for his motives in wanting to destroy Cassio and Othello these are mere rationalisations and excuses to provide justification for his evil actions and can only be accepted when analysing Othello on a surface level. Looking into Othello further we can see that Iago is a power thirsty character that dwells in his corruption and evil which makes him such a disturbing villain. Iago gives a sheer numbers of excuses to try and prove his ulterior motives, conveniently adding new reasons for his hate every time he needs to encourage Roderigo to do something for him.
Within human nature lies animalistic behavior from which our vices stem. Societal rules and restraints allow us to suppress these more animalistic instincts and advance as a species. However, when one has access to the power that comes with advancement but is placed in a world without the necessary constraints to control this power new vices are formed fueled by greed and self-righteous attitudes. The novella, Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad, explores the darkness within and what draws it out of one 's soul. Conrad uses Africa as a metaphor for the motherland of this darkness, a world without rules; through setting description, character description, and obvious aspects of the plot that comment on the need for civilization, Conrad explains
The ideology of imperialism revolves around the need for economic gain through any means necessary. However, Conrad tries to show that the very ideology itself is detrimental to a person’s mental health throughout the first chapter of Heart of Darkness. A key example of this is the scene with the doctor at the beginning of the chapter, the doctor who is examining Marlow states that “changes take place inside” people that go to places like Africa. The doctor could be implying that individual change when they go places like Africa because of the influence of imperialism. In places like Africa an individual must adapt to the imperialistic ideology, which revolves primarily around the gain of profit.
And so when Achebe argues that Marlow is just a tool for Conrad to communicate his racist comments indirectly, he omits the fact that Marlow finds the act of his own people to be morally wrong. Marlow disapproves of European presence in Africa seeing how this “conquest of the earth … mostly means taking it away from those who have different complexion or slightly fatter noses” (Conrad & Walker, 1981, p. 8). If Achebe were to look past the unpleasant descriptions of the native Africans, then he would see that the novel is actually an attack on imperialism,