heart of darkness


Achebe, Chinua. "An image of Africa: racism in Conrad\'s Heart of Darkness". Heart of darkness: an authoritative text, backgrounds and sources, criticism / Joseph Conrad. 3rd Ed. Robert Kimbrough. New York: Norton, 1988. 252-258.

Sighn, Frances B. "The colonialistic bias of Heart of Darkness". Heart of Darkness: an authoritative text, backgrounds and sources, criticism / Joseph Conrad. 3rd Ed. Robert Kimbrough. New York: Norton, 1988. 269-278.

Conrad, Joseph. "Heart of Darkness". Heart of Darkness: an authoritative text, backgrounds and sources, criticism / Joseph Conrad 3rd Ed. Robert Kimbrough. New York: Norton, 1988. 19-47

Bender, Todd K. A concordance to Conrad\'s Heart of Darkness. New York & London: Garland publishing Inc, 1979.

The Heart of A Bloody Racist-by Cris Ohama
-Sec 003, Dec.08/99
Dr. Karen Manarin.

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, and unexpected attack. Chinua Achebe concluded: "Conrad…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; Chinua Achebe, and Frances Singh, although their criticisms differ, are to name. One must acknowledge that back in the eighteen hundreds society conformed to racism. Conrad probably would have been criticized as being soft hearted rather than a racist back in his time. So then are Conrad and Heart of Darkness soft hearted or racist? Chinua Achebe argues that both are \'bloody racist\'. Racism, due to ignorance, is portrayed through Conrad and if you were to reach deep down into the heart of his book it would revel the truth, that his story is \'bloody racist\'.
Most average readers usually are good at detecting racism in a book, but in Heart of Darkness the racism is hidden within. Achebe acknowledges Conrad camouflaged racist remarks, saying, "But Conrad choose his subject well - one which was guaranteed not to put him in conflict with psychological pre-disposition" (Achebe, 253). When going back and rereading Heart of Darkness, but this time reading between the lines, one can discover some racism Conrad felt toward the natives that one may have not discovered the first time reading the book.
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 beliefs and own words. Conrad uses "double speak" throughout his book, and because of this it hints to us that we may judge the actions and opinions of his character to mirror himself. Achebe concludes this coexistence of Conrad and Marlow in a unique frame of mind when he states, "Marlow seems…to enjoy Conrad\'s complete confidence" (Achebe, 257). Upon arriving at the first station, Marlow commented on 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 bookkeeper he changed his views of the natives when he states to himself: "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 bookkeeper as if he felt it\'s the natives\' fault for living in such a waste. The Europeans only cared about how he looked and not how he felt. Marlow did not care for the natives who were suffering less than fifty feet from him. He stated the natives were not criminals but were being treated as if they were, but at the same time he respected the bookkeeper on his looks instead of despising him for his indifference. Conrad considered the Africans inferior and doomed people.
Conrad constantly referred to the natives, in his book, as black savages, niggers, brutes, and "them", displaying ignorance towards the African history and racism towards the African people. Conrad wrote, "They passed me with six inches, without a glance, with the complete, deathlike indifference of unhappy savages" (Conrad, 19). Achebe, also,