This essay Heart of Darkness: Ignorance and Racism has a total of 964 words and 5 pages.
Heart of Darkness: Ignorance and Racism
Joseph Conrad develops themes of personal power, individual
responsibility, and social justice in his book Heart of Darkness. His book has
all the trappings of the conventional adventure tale - mystery, exotic setting,
escape, suspense, unexpected attack. Chinua Achebe concluded, "Conrad, on the
other hand, is undoubtedly one of the great stylists of modern fiction and a
good story-teller into the bargain" (Achebe 252). Yet, despite Conrad\'s great
story telling, he has also been viewed as a racist by some of his critics.
Achebe, Singh, and Sarvan, although their criticisim differ, are a few to name.
Normal readers usually are good at detecting racism in a book. Achebe
acknowledges Conrad camouflaged racism remarks, saying, "But Conrad chose his
subject well - one which was guaranteed not to put him in conflict with
psychological pre-disposition..." (Achebe, 253). Having gone back and
rereading Heart of Darkness, but this time reading between the lines, I have
discovered some racism Conrad felt toward the natives that I had not discovered
the first time I read the book. Racism is portrayed in Conrad\'s book, but one
must acknowledge that back in the eighteen hundreds society conformed to it.
Conrad probably would have been criticized as being soft hearted rather than a
racist back in his time.
Conrad constantly referred to the natives, in his book, as black savages,
niggers, brutes, and "them", displaying ignorance toward the African history
and racism towards the African people. Conrad wrote, "Black figures strolled
out listlessly... the beaten nigger groaned somewhere" (Conrad 28). "They
passed me with six inches, without a glance, with the complete, deathlike
indifference of unhappy savages" (Conrad 19). Achebe, also, detected Conrad\'s
frequent use of unorthodox name calling, "Certainly Conrad had a problem with
niggers. His in ordinate love of that word itself should be of interest to
psychoanalysts" (Achebe 258).
Conrad uses Marlow, the main character in the book, as a narrator so he
himself can enter the story and tell it through his own philosophical mind.
Conrad used "double speak" throughout his book. Upon arriving at the first
station, Marlow commented what he observed. "They were dying slowly - it was
very clear. They were not enemies, they were not criminals, they were nothing
earthly now, nothing but black shadows of disease and starvation lying
confusedly in the greenish gloom" (Conrad 20). Marlow felt pity toward the
natives, yet when he met the station\'s book keeper he changed his views of the
natives. "Moreover I respected the fellow. Yes. I respected his collars, his
vast cuffs, his brushed hair. His appearance was certainly great
demoralization of the land he kept up his appearance" (Conrad 21). Marlow
praised the book keeper as if he felt it\'s the natives\' fault for living in
such waste. the bureaucracy only cared about how he looked and felt. The
bookeeper did not care for the natives who were suffering less than fifty feet
from him. He stated the natives weren\'t criminals but were being treated as if
they were, but at the same time he respected the book keeper on his looks
instead of despising him for his indifference. Conrad considered the Africans
inferior and doomed people.
Frances B. Singh, author of The Colonialistic Bias of Heart of Darkness
said "The African natives, victims of Belgian exploitation, are described as
\'shapes,\' \'shadows,\' and \'bundles of acute angles,\' so as to show the
dehumanizing effect of colonialist rule on the ruled" (269-270). Another
similar incident of "double speak" appeared on the death of Marlow\'s helmsman.
Marlow respected the helmsman, yet when the native\'s blood poured into Marlow\'s
shoes, "To tell you the truth, I was morbidity anxious to change my shoes and
socks" (Conrad 47). How can someone respect yet feel disgusted towards someone?
Singh looks into this question by stating, "The reason of course, is because he
(Marlow) never completely grants them (natives) human status: at the best they
are a species of superior hyena" (Singh 273).
As I have mentioned before, Conrad was not only racist but also ignorant.
He would often mix ignorance with racism when he described the natives. "They
howled and leaped and spun and made horrid faces, but what thrilled you was
just the thought of their humanity - like yours - the thought of your remote
kinship with this wild and passionate uproar. Ugly" (Conrad 35). "The
prehistoric man was cursing us, praying to us, welcoming us - who could tell?"
(Conrad 37). The end result of Conrad\'s ignorance of not knowing the behavior
of African people concluded his division of the social world into two separate
categories: "us," the Europeans, and
Topics Related to Heart of Darkness: Ignorance and Racism
Congo Free State, Heart of Darkness, Human trophy collecting, Novellas, An Image of Africa, Chinua Achebe, Joseph Conrad, Charles Marlow, Racism, Achebe, Hopes and Impediments
Essays Related to Heart of Darkness: Ignorance and Racism
Similarities in Joseph Conrad's novelsSimilarities in Joseph Conrad\'s novels I hereby hand over all copyrights I might have for this paper. You are free to use it for what ever purpose you see fit. Jonathan Welden Joseph Conrad\'s books, The Secret Sharer and Heart of Darkness, both deal with each of our dark selves. These books also have similarities which are overwhelming. In describing the true inner self of humans, Conrad used many symbols which have become apparent in many of his novels. Conrad uses the same or very similar
Suicide in Las VegaSuicide in Las Vega Hell is expensive. This is my first thought as my plane lands in Las Vegas. The Luxor hotel\'s glass pyramid seems dangerously close to the runway\'s edge, as do its chocolate-and-gold sphinx and rows of shaved palms. I wonder if these rooms tremble when jets land. Behind the Luxor are mountains kissed by dust the hue of bone; to its left lies the Strip, where color is so bright it looks like it has died, rotted, and come back as a poisonous flower. I have been forewarned. Fi
The Heart of Darkness: The Horror!The Heart of Darkness: The Horror! David Yu In Heart of Darkness it is the white invaders for instance, who are, almost without exception, embodiments of blindness, selfishness, and cruelty; and even in the cognitive domain, where such positive phrases as to enlighten, for instance, are conventionally opposed to negative ones such as to be in the dark, the traditional expectations are reversed. In Kurtz\'s painting, as we have seen, the effect of the torch light on the face was sinister (W
CapoieraCapoiera Peter Newell 11-10-99 Period 1 Capoeira Essay (Informative) CAPOEIRA Origin: Angola and Brazil History: Capoeira is the common name for the group of African martial arts that came out of west Africa and were modified and mixed in Brazil. These original styles included weapons, grappling and striking as well as animal forms that became incorporated into different components and sub styles of the art. In 1500\'s the Portuguese, led by explorer Pedro Alvares Cabral, arrived in Brazil. One
Heart of DarknessHeart of Darkness 11-27-94 Ewrt1B The Horror! In Heart of Darkness it is the white invaders for instance, who are, almost without exception, embodiments of blindness, selfishness, and cruelty; and even in the cognitive domain, where such positive phrases as to enlighten, for instance, are conventionally opposed to negative ones such as to be in the dark, the traditional expectations are reversed. In Kurtz\'s painting, as we have seen, the effect of the torch light on the face was sinister
Heart of DarknessHeart of Darkness Daniel Tortora Paper 4 Final Draft Heart of Darkness, a novel by Joseph Conrad, and Apocalypse Now, a movie by Francis Ford Coppola can be compared and contrasted in many ways. By focusing on their endings and on the character of Kurtz, contrasting the meanings of the horror in each media emerges. In the novel the horror reflects Kurtz tragedy of transforming into a ruthless animal whereas in the film the horror has more of a definite meaning, reflecting the war and all the bar
HEart Of DarknessHEart Of Darkness Heart of Darkness In Heart of Darkness it is the white invaders for instance, who are, almost without exception, embodiments of blindness, selfishness, and cruelty; and even in the cognitive domain, where such positive phrases as to enlighten, for instance, are conventionally opposed to negative ones such as to be in the dark, the traditional expectations are reversed. In Kurtz\'s painting, as we have seen, the effect of the torch light on the face was sinister (Watt 332). Ian
Heart of Darkness – Pages 68-75Heart of Darkness – Pages 68-75 Summary The events that take place in pages 68 to the end of the novel revolve around Kurtz’s death. This section of Heart of Darkness opens with the steamer breaking down. The delay disheartens Kurtz’s confidence to return to his Intended. Marlow is slowly becoming ill and Kurtz becomes worried that the manager will gain control. In response, Kurtz decides to give Marlow a bundle of papers for safekeeping. Kurtz’s condition worsens as time progresses. A few eveni
Chapter 41: “The Stormy Sixties”Chapter 41: “The Stormy Sixties” 1960 – 1968 I. Kennedy’s “New Frontier” Spirit 1. In 1960, young, energetic John F. Kennedy was elected to president of the United States—the youngest man ever elected to that office. 2. The 1960s would bring a sexual revolution, a civil rights revolutions, the emergence of a “youth culture,” a devastating war in Vietnam, and the beginnings of a feminist revolution. 3. JFK delivered a stirring inaugural address, and he also assembled a very young cabinet, includi
Reasons for Expansionist PolicyReasons for Expansionist Policy By the end of the 19th century expansion had become a predominant feature of American foreign policy. The continental westward expansion by the end of the 1880’s; perceivably had reached its zenith, and abundant reasons existed for the acquisition of a new offshore commercial frontier. A depression; which forged a need to compete with foreign powers on a commercial and strategic level, as well as a sense of duty known as manifest destiny embodied the ideal and rea
Capital PunishmentCapital Punishment Susan Smith intentionally drove her car into a lake with her two children strapped to the back seat, but the jury decided that capital punishment is too cruel for murdering her infant daughters. The word capital in capital punishment refers to a person\'s head. In the past, people were often executed by severing their head from their body. Today, in the U.S., most prisoners are murdered by lethal injection. Capital Punishment has been a major issue in today\'s society; seventy
An Analysis of Heart of DarknessAn Analysis of Heart of Darkness Conrad\'s novel, Heart of Darkness, relies on the historical period of imperialism in order to describe its protagonist, Charlie Marlow, and his struggle. Marlow\'s catharsis in the novel, as he goes to the Congo, rests on how he visualises the effects of imperialism. Marlow\'s change, as caused by his exposure to the imperialistic nature of the historical period in which he lived is one of the main concerns of our study.Because, Joseph Conrad develops themes of
Cultural conflicts and social change in Africa andCultural conflicts and social change in Africa and its Sub-region: conceptualising the possibilities and limitations of conflict management Cultural conflict Conflict is a construct referring to affective aspects of a particular situation, which involves antagonists. My observations have led me to suggest that conflict fits within the following table of emotional and affective states in a society, which can vary from time to time: Feeling/State Interaction Consequences Comfort Discussion Stabili
Harlem RenaissanceHarlem Renaissance 17-04-04 “A heightened concern with artistic form and a concern for representing the social world are not at odds with one another. Indeed, new social forms require new forms of representation.” Poets and writers associated with the Harlem Renaissance manage to both represent and contradict this statement, depending on the point at which we analyze them As a relatively new social caste they saw opportunities in modern forms of artistic expression like jazz or the blues, but th
BelgiumBelgium “The Workshop of Europe” One of the many fascinating countries in Europe is Belgium. In northwestern Europe lies this country. It is small in size, but there are many people who live in Belgium which makes it one of the most densely populated European counties. It plays an important part in world affairs as NATO is located in its capital of Brussels. Many manufactured goods are produced here, as it is nicknamed the Workshop of Europe. North to south measures about 100 miles and about hal
Veering PointVeering Point What were the causes and effects of World War I? The answer to this seemingly simple question is not elementary. There was more to the onset of the war then the event of an Austrian prince being murdered in Serbia, as is what most people consider to be the cause of World War I. Furthermore, the effects of the war were not just concentrated to a post-war era lasting for a generation of Westerners. No, the effects of the war were widespread throughout the world and can be traced to g
Committee on OutragesCommittee on Outrages A committee on Outrages was appointed, and from it’s report we gather the following facts showing the actual condition of the State. Out of forty-five counties, murders of colored men during the past year are reported in seventeen counties, and we are informed these murders are very common.1 This passage was from a black convention held in Macon, Georgia, during the year 1870. That was the period directly following the north’s victory in the Civil War, and the whites contem
Causes and Effects of World War ICauses and Effects of World War I What were the causes and effects of World War I? The answer to this seemingly simple question is not elementary. There was more to the onset of the war then the event of an Austrian prince being murdered in Serbia, as is what most people consider to be the cause of World War I. Furthermore, the effects of the war were not just concentrated to a post-war era lasting for a generation of Westerners. No, the effects of the war were widespread throughout the world an
URANIUMURANIUM NUCLEAR FRIEND OR NUCLEAR FOE On Monday August 6, 1945 the U.S. Bomber Enola Gay flew over the Japanese city of Hiroshima. Seconds later a metallic projectile fell towards its target. In a blinding flash the world felt the power of a new age, the nuclear age. The study of radiation that would eventually lead to these uranium weapons began in 1798. It was in this year that the german chemist Martin Heinrich Klaproth identified the element uranium. Uranium was not isolated in a metallic st
HIV VirusHIV Virus The Invisible Tyrants A Brief History of the H.I.V. Virus February 27th, 1994 Frank Mancini firstname.lastname@example.org Supposedly 1.6 million years have passed since the earliest human like ancestors. 250,000 years since the earliest Homo Sapiens and 1962 years since Jesus Christ was executed. Although not everyone agrees on whether the existence of Christ is true or not, that is what the standard calendar defining days and time is based upon and that is the way we deal economically and politic
Reasearch On VoodooReasearch On Voodoo Voodoo and It’s Misinterpretation in America Voodoo is a religion rich in heiratage and founded in faith and community. The religion has been villianized by western culture and has been wrongly protrayed as malignant and dangerous. The religion is not founded in any of the “black magics” or fear popularized by Hollywood films, but rather it is based on balance and tradition. The religion is not something which should be encountered with inhibition or fear induced from childho
FranceFrance Introduction France, which is the largest nation in Western Europe, is a presidential republic. France is a very important nation in Europe and it continues to be involved in contemporary policy issues. Helping the world as one of the great trading nations, France is a very important trading partner with the United States. Not only is France important to the United States, they are also important to countries all over the world. Their abundance of both mineral and agricultural resources m