Colonialism And The Heart Of Darkness Essay Example
Colonialism And The Heart Of Darkness Essay Example

Colonialism And The Heart Of Darkness Essay Example

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  • Pages: 3 (619 words)
  • Published: November 20, 2018
  • Type: Book Review
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Heart of Darkness, written by Joseph Conrad, is a powerful critique of colonialism and its impact on both the indigenous people and the colonizers themselves. Conrad's personal experiences of growing up in Poland during Russian occupation and later commanding a river steamer in the Dutch Congo inform his perspective on colonialism. His protagonist, Marlow, a riverboat captain, serves as the vessel through which these experiences are conveyed.

There are three ways in which colonialism is critiqued: directly, ironically, and metaphorically. In Conrad's book, colonialism is directly attacked through explicit and harsh statements that expose its horrors. For instance, Marlow describes the Roman colonization of ancient Britain as a violent robbery and mass murder, where men acted blindly in pursuit of personal gain.

According to Conrad (140), the conquest of the earth, which primarily involves seizing land from t


hose who look different from us or have slightly flatter noses, is an unpleasant reality that becomes evident upon deeper analysis. Conrad criticizes the cruel and self-centered character that colonialism instills in colonizers. Marlow also presents a somber portrayal of the native people, who endured immense hardships and atrocities that exceeded their physical and mental capacities. This description provides a bleak picture of their suffering.

They were slowly dying—it was evident. They were not enemies, they were not criminals, they were now nothing of the earthly realm, just black shadows of disease and starvation lying confusedly in the greenish gloom. They were brought from various parts of the coast under the legitimacy of time contracts, lost in unwelcoming surroundings, nourished with unfamiliar food, they fell ill, became ineffective, and were then permitted to crawl away and rest (Conrad 156). This portray

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a cruel and inhuman scene that colonialism brings into existence. The complete lack of empathy and brutal behavior of colonizers are the consequences of a terrible practice that reduced men to their most basic and ignoble state. Conrad employs irony to criticize colonialism repeatedly.

One instance of this can be seen in Marlows depiction of the Eldorado exploring expedition. This dedicated group referred to themselves as the Eldorado Exploring Expedition and I suspect they took an oath of silence. Nevertheless, their conversations resembled those of disreputable pirates. Their recklessness was devoid of courage.

They were greedy and cruel, lacking audacity and courage. It seemed that they had no foresight or serious intention, unaware that these qualities are necessary for the work of the world. Their sole desire was to extract treasure from the land with no moral purpose, similar to burglars breaking into a safe. The individual or group who funded this noble venture remains unknown (Conrad 177).

Within Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad employs various metaphors to critique colonialism, revealing a serendipitous perspective on the motives of these men. Through suggestive references and allusions, the title of the work, "Heart of Darkness," becomes a multi-layered metaphor open to extensive analysis.

Within the Belgian Congo, darkness can be perceived in multiple ways. Firstly, it can refer to the physical location and the skin color of its inhabitants. However, it can also be associated with the cruel actions of the European colonizers and their oppression of the native population. This implies that the true darkness does not originate from Africa, but rather from Europe. It lies not in the hearts of black Africans, but in all white individuals who partake

in colonial endeavors. In his writing, Conrad skillfully employs metaphoric language such as shapes, shadows, and acute angles to portray how colonial rule dehumanizes those who are being ruled.

Conrad incorporated psychological metaphors in his writing. For example, Marlow compares his experiences in Africa to the challenges faced by Roman soldiers, who had to navigate through swamps, forests, and encounter savage lands.

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