An Analysis of Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

7 July 2016

My view on “The Heart of Darkness” automatically came to me as a racial story, which encourages racism. The wording used in the story such as, light and dark made it seem like Joseph Conrad was referring to people of darker skin color as “monstrous” and “inhuman”. “The earth seemed unearthly. We are accustomed to look upon the shackled form of a conquered monster, but there – there you could look at a thing monstrous and free. It was unearthly, and the men were – No, they were not inhuman.

Well, you know, that was the worst of it – this suspicion of their not being inhuman. ” (Pg. 13). Throughout the reading the main character Marlow says how they would go to places where Africans were fee and it seemed “unearthly” to them. This quote shows how people of a darker skin color were discriminated against and were considered a lower class of people. Usually an author will incorporate certain things into their writing to make a point that people are constantly overlooking the racism, power, femininity, identity, madness, and even fate.

An Analysis of Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad Essay Example

This does in fact alter the way a person thinks and views the world. Chinua Achebe helps prove my claim that Conrad is putting a view into reader’s minds that racism is not a bad thing but people of color “deserve” and should be shackled without any freedom. On page 4 Achebe elaborates on the way Conrad uses a prehistoric earth and shows how he uses it as the place where people of color are free. Prehistoric, meaning those people should not be free how they once were.

However, a website that had a blog written by Selby Evans disagrees with Achebe by stating, “Quite early in his argument, Achebe writes, “Heart of Darkness projects the image of Africa as “the other world”, the antithesis of Europe and therefore of civilization, a place where a man’s vaunted intelligence and refinement are finally mocked by triumphant bestiality”(Achebe 783). One must ask, however, whose bestiality is triumphant. In my opinion, it is not the image of the savage African that is triumphant, but rather of the barbarity and futility of the colonial process.

Contemporary readers are struck by the insensitivity and savage way in which European colonists approached the tribal cultures they sought to “civilize”. ” Evans demonstrates that the story could be mainly about civilization and colonial purposes. While researching I found another point made by the website shmoop, the quote they explained shows how the manager is demonstrated as more powerful, even though the point of the round table was to make everyone equal, the head of the table is where ever he sits is the head of the table.

“When annoyed at meal-times by the constant quarrels of the white men about precedence, he ordered an immense round table to be made, for which a special house had to be built. This was the station’s mess-room. Where he sat was the first place—the rest were nowhere. One felt this to be his unalterable conviction. ” (1. 52). I still see both racism along with power in the story, however racism overpowers the different themes, such as power, colonialism, and femininity. “[On the black slaves at the first station]: “[…] but these men could by no stretch of imagination be called enemies.

They were called criminals and the outraged law, like the bursting shells, had come to them, an insoluble mystery from over the sea. All their meager breasts panted together, the violently dilated nostrils quivered, the eyes stared stonily up-hill. They passed me within six inches, without a glance, with that complete, deathlike indifference of unhappy savages. ” (1. 36). This quote establishes my reason for why I think this story is more racial than feminist or fear. There are these different themes and moral values to the story but racism stuck out the most to me and the way I view the world and the reading.

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