Joseph Conrad’s Heart Of Darkness Essay

1880 words - 8 pages

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One example that could be considered racist is in Chapter one. In this paragraph, Joseph Conrad is talking about how the Europeans are colonizing Africa and what they are doing to the natives in the process. He says that the Europeans are at fault for many things, including extremely violent robbery and the murders of numerous people. He is speaking about the reality of colonization and how in the end, countries will only care about making money off of it. He said they accomplish this by using “brute force,” which obviously means violence and killing. The European countries wanted to take away Africa from those who had “a different complexion or slightly flatter noses.” Up until this point, it does not seem as if Conrad is using any racist ideas. However, he then goes on to say that all of this is acceptable because it will be worth it in the end. In other words, he was trying to say that the end will justify the means, no matter how many innocent people must be hurt in the process (page 8).
Furthermore, in this same passage, Joseph Conrad describes this whole ordeal as actually being a rather unselfish idea. He says that the men doing all of this in Africa are actually making some sort of sacrifice. Also, in the passage it says that this is something others will “bow down before” and worship. What the Europeans were doing in Africa should in no way be worshipped or seen as a sacrifice. They did not sacrifice themselves; if anyone were sacrificed in this situation, it would be each and every one of the innocent Africans. This idea that Conrad presents could definitely be seen as racist, because what those men did was not right by any means, and they should definitely not be worshipped for it (page 8).
There is also another passage that I think could relate to this in a way. While the main character, Marlow, is on the ship he describes his journey as being “a weary pilgrimage amongst hints for nightmares.” Normally a pilgrimage is journey that has something to do with religion, or at least moral significance. Joseph Conrad saying that Marlow’s journey was a pilgrimage can make him seem racist. As it is mentioned before, what the European colonizers were doing was not right in any way. They were killing innocent people, taking over their homes, and making the natives work for them. Ultimately, they were tortured, and the Europeans were doing nothing moral or religious while in Africa. Some Europeans at the time may have said that what they were doing was right and that it was their duty, but that is not true. This is what Joseph Conrad seems to think since he had Marlow say that (pg 17).
There are a few times that Joseph Conrad makes the character Marlow appear shocked at the fact that the natives of Africa were referred to as enemies. Marlow sees Africans walking past him and points out that have iron collars around their neck and that they were connected together by a chains. He says that in no stretch of the...

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