Racism In The Heart Of Darkness, By Joseph Conrad. Essay

Imperialism in Conrad’s Heart of Darkness is one of the chief focal aspects of critical controversy and debate in the fields of literary theory and literary criticism. The aim of the study is to examine the ideological background to viewing Conrad as anti-imperialist in ‘Heart of Darkness’, while dealing also with the presentation of imperialism and racism. The study reveals that Conrad was consciously anti-imperialist but he unconsciously or carelessly employed racist terminology.

In the present era of decolonization, Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness presents one of fictions strongest accounts of British imperialism. Conrad’s attitude towards imperialism and race has been the subject of much literary and historical debate. Many literary critics view Conrad as accepting blindly the arrogant attitude of the white male European and condemn Conrad to be a racist and imperialists. The other side vehemently defends Conrad, perceiving the novel to be an attack on imperialism and…


Racism in Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad - Essay …

Thesis Statement/Essay Topic #4: In-Depth Character Analysis: Multiple Possibilities in “Heart of Darkness”

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Like their Victorian predecessors, these. 1977. Racism is discrimination and prejudice towards people based racism in heart of darkness essays on their race or ethnicity

The African characters are present as absent figures. They do not speak or think. They do not behave like normal human beings. Whenever they are given any kind of presence, it is only as foils for another European character as when the African woman who was the savage is allowed speech at all, it was „a violent babble of uncouth sounds?. Furthermore, Heart of Darkness makes negative statements about Africans referring to them as „nigger? , „savages? , „prehistoric man?. They are described as generally miserable and unhealthy, far from friends, family and familiar food and comforting beliefs.

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We were wanderers on a prehistoric earth, on an earth that wore the aspect of an unknown planet. We could have fancied ourselves the first of men taking possession of an accursed inheritance, to be subdued at the cost of profound anguish and of excessive toil. The steamer toiled along slowly on the edge of the black and incomprehensible frenzy. The prehistoric man was cursing us, pray to us welcoming us. Who could tell? We were cut off from the comprehension of our surroundings; we glided past like phantoms, wandering secretly appalled, as sane men would be before an enthusiastic outbreak in a madhouse… (Heart of Darkness, p. 2) Emphasizing Marlow? s emotions in this journey, Conrad creates the image as if Marlow is travelling back to the earliest beginning of the world, when vegetation grew on the earth in great abundance, and when the big trees were the kings of the jungle. The forests on both sides of the Congo river were so thick as to be impenetrable. Yet another issue supporting Conrad? s racism is the absence of African voice in the novel. An implicit nature of characterization of the native Africans extends as to describe them as „faceless, ugly, rudimentary souls?.

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Achebe, Chinua. “An Image of Africa: Racism in Conrad’s Heart of Darkness”. The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism. New York: Norton, 2001. Print.