Apart from colonialism and imperialism on which both countries presume imbalanced power association, the connection between two nations may be by sharing of equal powers. It is for this reason that a state may influence another country, and the impact may not necessarily get viewed by open exploitation. This paper will explore the various ways in which colonialism and racism are depicted, affirmed and subverted in "Heart of Darkness," by Joseph Conrad.
Joseph Conrad uses post-colonialism in his novella to analyze colonialism and racism. The main aim of writing and portraying the two significant themes is because it reflected what was happening. Several previous studies were used in the research. The first study got done by Febrian entitled "Moral Values in Joseph Conrad's Novel Heart of Darkness." The objective of this study was to explain the characters that were present in Heart of Darkness. The morals of Charlie Marlow and Mr. Kurtz are analyzed as they are the chief characters. Their characters are explained using a powerful qualitative technique. In the essay "Hypocrisy and Imperialism in Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness" by Syhapura, the focus is based on the significant subject matter of colonization and imperialism.
It is an ugly truth to describe Kurtz as a model agent of the colonial barbarity. The novel by Joseph Conrad gets taken as a powerful attack on the ideologies of colonialism by the Europeans. Edward Said as well suggested that Africa operated in an imperial manner, it assumptions being that the whites found themselves. As s concerned man of deep imminent and understanding, Marlow gets considered as a sympathetic protector of the European colonialism as well as an influential critic of it. Simultaneously, Joseph Conrad clearly and consistently illustrates what Marlow feels for himself. The inconsistencies which are very disturbing on his role clearly shows the rhetoric civilization objective persuaded the whites to recognize disgrace of King Leopold's Congo. In the spiritual journey by Marlow of trying to find Kurtz, the experiences and convictions of Marlow fight each other. Marlow and Kurtz are both affected by their colonial adventures.
Heart of Darkness shows loss of innocence of Marlow. The narrative of his diminished mission for the redeeming ideology gets situated in the story whose borders as well as its origin are an inconclusive tale. Boyhood memory and Marlow's passion for maps is the underlying reason for taking an adventure to Congo. Marlow gets forced into an agreement with Kurtz nihilistic utterances. Just in the manner in which Memmi's colonizer who refuses, Congo becomes irrelevant to Marlow. The initial redeeming mission of Marlow in Congo begins turning out to be an illusion. Like Kurtz, Jim also exposes the weakness of the fantasies that feed majestic greatness. As Conradian true heroes, they force us to reconfigure the basis on which to moral judgments are to be made. An undiscovered depth in the psyche of humanity gets revealed in their lives; it is for this reason that the whites at the inquiry anticipated some disclosure.
From the analysis of Heart of Darkness by use of post-colonial theory, it can get concluded that there were three indicators of colonialism: (1) Africans got colonized by the Europeans; (2) African were not only colonized by the Europeans but also all the natural resources found in African land got grabbed and advantages put on them; (3) the Europeans also set a government on the African land (Conrad 15-97).
Besides the indicators of colonialism that could get deduced from Joseph Conrad's novel, there are indicators of racism that can be concluded too: (1) the African were treated unpleasantly through oppression and conquering them; (2) Africans were looked down upon by the Europeans because the whites believed they were mightier and had higher position than the Africans in their land (Conrad 15-97).
Based on the summary from the post-colonial analysis, it can be concluded that the post-colonial theory can get subdivided into parts which include imperialism, subaltern, colonialism and racism.
The first part is imperialism. The imperialist in the novel by Conrad are the white men. The real instance is Mr. Kurtz. The main reason for coming to Africa was to do trading. Not just doing trading but the fact was to expand his commercial area. Not only that but most of the whites, if not all, engaged in taking advantage of the inland. They brought goods like in exchange of certain items like ivory from Africa. What they gave out, however, did not match what they beg (Gainor, Garner & Puncher 27)
The second part of the post-colonial theory is subaltern. The term subaltern implies colonized. In the novel, the subalterns are the Africans who are black. They were referred to as the niggers by the whites. Nigger to mean subjugated. The whites applied to the Africans as colonized because they had indirectly grabbed the Africans' land. Furthermore, they pressed the blacks to work for them without paying them gratification fee (Firchow 19).
Colonialism is the third division. As from the above illustration, the niggers were the force to work without getting rewarded with gratification fee. Additionally, the blacks got starved. Then, when the Africans got affected by the tropical epidemic, the whites made no effort to help them. They were just left to die. Lastly, racism in the novella gets stressed as the act of looking down to another race. The whites looked down at the Africans. The niggers were taken as foolish people full of immorality (Gainor, Garner & Puncher 27).
Reflecting on the theme of colonialism and racism, some of the conclusions that could get drawn include: (1) from the plot developed by Conrad, it can be clearly seen that the Africans get unpleasantly treated by the Europeans; (2) from the setting of the story, Africa is described as a dark place; (3) based on the style, the Africans are referred to as the colonized people by the Europeans. This gets done politely by calling the 'nigger" which is a simple term meaning colonized people. Joseph Conrad reveals colonialism and racism in his novel because he was part of the colonialists. Joseph Conrad was a white person, so he took sides with the Europeans in looking down upon the Africans. That is why he was able to reveal the theme of colonialism and racism in his novel.
In conclusion, from the above discussion, it appeared like Conrad, and the other writers wanted to raise an event as a depiction of postcolonialism in action at the time. However, in the novella, Joseph Conrad sees more of the Africans regarding viewing as the whites, not in as the blacks. Therefore, in through this way, Conrad can be said to be discriminative. As a writer, Conrad could have been wiser by not discriminating the Africans. This would have led to his novel getting accepted without much controversy.
Conrad, Joseph. The Selected Letters of Joseph Conrad. Cambridge University Press, 2015.
Firchow, Peter Edgerly. Envisioning Africa: Racism and Imperialism in Conrad's Heart of Darkness. University Press of Kentucky, 2015.
Gainor, J. E., S. B. Garner, and M. Puchner. "The Norton anthology of drama (Vol. 2, The Nineteenth Century to the Present)." (2014).
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