Heart Of Darkness By Joseph Conrad

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Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

Joseph Conrad's "Heart of Darkness" is considered by many as a classic, but over the years has presented many problems of interpretation. One of the most famous misinterpretations is Chinua Achebe's misunderstanding of Conrad as a racist. We should not make insane assumptions about Conrad's character simply because he was honest about how the Africans were treated back then. Suppose If Conrad wrote the story any differently, that is, not putting the Africa and Africans down, then it would not precisely reveal the history. It is impossible to consider Conrad a racist because he is a product of his times, which had that kind of racism built into its very language. He only uses some racist remarks to show the people how Africans were treated and considered back then, and Achebe lacks sufficient proof to claim that Conrad was a racist in real life.

In "Heart of Darkness" Conrad painted a very negative picture of colonialism. By today's values his novel concerning Africans is most definitely crude; however, this is only a reflective of the state of affairs at the time. Racism is slightly portrayed in his book, but one must acknowledge the fact that back in Conrad's days, society actually conformed to racism. But that doesn't tell us that Conrad himself was a racist. Conrad constantly referred to the Africans, in his book, as savages and niggers to show the readers how the society and people at that time were ignorant towards African people. One cannot claim from the following lines "Black figures strolled out listlessly... the beaten nigger groaned somewhere" (Heart of Darkness) that Conrad is a racist. This has nothing to do with the reality of Conrad being a racist. If anything, Conrad criticizes the European colonization of Africa in Heart of Darkness over and over again and has a sympathetic view towards Africans, not racist.

Symbolism has long been a tool of the storyteller, finding its origins in the folklore of our earliest civilizations. In more recent years, however, symbolism has taken on a new role, forming the skeleton upon which the storyteller builds the tales of his or hers thoughts and adventures. Knowing the power of this element, Joseph Conrad uses symbols to help the reader explore dark interiors of men. The symbols become a vehicle that carry the audience from stop to stop, the ride becoming an evaluation of the darkness contained inside the hearts of mankind. Through the use of Dark Africa as an overpowering symbol, Conrad's Heart of Darkness tells a story that evaluates man's tendencies to fall back on barbaric methods when not protected by civilization.

As Marlow proceeded through the jungle towards the uncivilized world of Kurtz, he said, of the men they passed , 'They passed me within six inches, without a glance, with that complete, deathlike indifference of unhappy savages'(Conrad, 80). Marlow's advancements into the jungle, acted parallel with my discovery: In our deepest ...
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