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Dehumanization Essay

1089 words - 4 pages

In this novel, one thing I noticed about Conrad’s writing was that, never in this story was a person fully described. Not even the stars of the story, Kurtz and Marlow were completely described. Conrad does this because he wants to show us that the people in this story are some sort of human qualities. This act of dehumanization in the novel shows us that the men in the story are so blinded by their greed that they are not seen as fully human; they lost themselves to want and desire. In the novella, I think that the Africans, the pilgrims and Europeans, and Kurtz are so seen as a whole.
Of course, this book is about the darkness of imperialism. There is bound to be some derogatory words said about the country and people being colonized. In the story, we can definitely tell the neither Conrad nor Marlow think highly of Africa. We see Marlow describing the African with animalistic descriptions. He says, “while I stood horror struck, on of these creatures rose…and went off on all fours…and after a time let his woolly he ad fall” (**). This quote shows me the Marlow saw them like animals. By relating a person to an animal, you take away the human being in them. In the book Marlow also says, “Sad, but true. And these chaps, too, had no ear they reason for any kind of scruple” (**). All Europeans, including Marlow, think that the cannibal or the African have no real reason to cause a problem. They think that their thought is not more important than them. It is our brain the separates people from animal, so when I think someone’s oppinons or thoughts aren’t important I am really treating unlike a person but more like an animal. These quotes are a proof of the dehumanization methods Conrad uses towards the Africans.
However, Conrad not only takes from the African humanity; he also does the same towards the Europeans. We meet many people through our narrator Marlow, but they are never completely described. They are mostly just a name and nothing else. In the book, Marlow meets the head of the Company and he says that he was a “white haired head…wearing a compassionate expression”. He goes on saying that “a skinny forefinger beckoned”. In this quote we see another character described as parts but not as something whole. There is another similar part where Marlow describes his manager saying, “He inspired uneasiness…He had no genius for organizing, for initiative, for order even…He originated nothing, he could keep the routine going—that’s all”. (**).Ok, I get that Marlow doesn’t really like the manager, but this quote made him sound heartless. He goes beyond insulting; he is basically saying that the manager is an empty person, that he lacks intelligence and initiative. This quote makes me not want to care for the manager because he doesn’t seem real to me. On the other hand, this quote makes Marlow seem inhuman, because compassion is in human nature and Marlow doesn’t seem to posses it. Conrad does this so that we do not feel sorry for them because...

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