Prejudice And Racism In Conrad’s Heart Of Darkness

826 words - 3 pages

Racism in Conrad’s Heart of Darkness  

Imagine floating up the dark waters of the Congo River in the Heart of Africa. The calmness of the water and the dense fog make the hairs stand up on the back of your neck as you wonder if the steamboats crew will eat you as you sleep. These things occur in Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. Although the book is undeniably racist, was the author, Joseph Conrad, racist? Conrad was racist because he uses racial slurs, the slavery and unfair treatment of the native Africans in his book.

The use of racist language is very prevalent in Heart of Darkness. Conrad, through Marlow, the main character, uses the word nigger when talking about native Africans on many occasions. "The fool-nigger had dropped everything to throw the shutter open and let off that Martini-Henry" (Conrad 46). The use of the word nigger so loosely by Marlow and other people in the book was an accepted thing during the time the book took place. Nigger has always been a racist word and because Conrad writes with this word, he is racist. Conrad’s racist writing makes the native people look ignorant.

"I pulled the string of the whistle, and I did this because I saw the pilgrims on the deck getting out their rifles with an air of anticipating a jolly lark. At the sudden screech there was a movement of abject terror through that wedged mass of bodies." (Conrad 66)

In this particular portion of the book Conrad blew the steam whistle to scare away the foolish natives. Conrad, in his writing, displays an attitude that the native people were niggers and were not smart people. In writing about this, he is uneducated about cultural differences. He does not know and understand the African people so he calls them niggers, which is extremely racist.

The treatment of natives like slaves in the book is tremendously racist. A normal person today would feed and pay those who work for them. It is considered morally sound to do this. In Heart of Darkness, no one thinks it is wrong to not feed or pay those who work for you. It would be considered wrong to help feed the workers who are starving. Conrad raises no point in his book that this act is unacceptable. Conrad then believes it is okay. In Heart of Darkness,it is considered reasonable to make the natives at fault for things management has done. The manager sets...

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