Essay on "Heart of Darkness" on Views of Colonialism

Topics: Joseph Conrad, Chinua Achebe, Colonialism Pages: 2 (848 words) Published: February 16, 2013
Heart of Darkness Essay
In “Heart of Darkness”, by Joseph Conrad, Conrad explores his view of colonialism. He creates a view that colonialism is representative of man’s desire to dominate and evaluates the deceptiveness of the motives. Through these ideas he creates a feeling of the malevolency of colonialism. However, both Conrad, in real life, and Marlow, who represents Conrad, worked and lived in the world of colonialism and through Conrad’s syntax some, like Chinua Achebe, believe Conrad to be racist. The main views for the racist view of Conrad are that in the story no black person gets a name, racist descriptions (like “a savage who was no more account than a grain of sand in a black Sahara”) and the fact that no black character is in talked about in the novel for more than a paragraph. These conflicting positions on colonialism are representative of the conflict between colonialism and liberal views, which happened during the time Conrad wrote this novel. Conrad explores the devastating effect of the false motives for colonialism on the people of both the colonising country and the colonised country. He does this by expanding on his motif of magic and the divine, which is further expressed through the repetition of the motifs of light and dark, into showing us how these false motives and views of colonialism has become a magical cure for the ‘savagery’ of Africa. This allows people to justify their actions and hence lose their moral compass and become morally hypocritical. This hypocrisy is shown through the constant allusions to the native Africans as savages when they live and keep to their own moral code and the Europeans murdering them which is against their religion, ‘thou shalt not kill’, when religion was a key motive to colonise the world and thus fix the unbalanced world, in both “Heart of Darkness” and real life. This is shown by Conrad by Marlow’s Aunt describing Marlow as an “emissary of light”. The use of the imagery of light is...
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