The Heart of Darkness

Topics: Colonialism, Africa, Europe Pages: 2 (783 words) Published: October 2, 2010
The Heart of Darkness: A Paradox of Imperialism
In The Heart of Darkness, Conrad achieves the element of paradox, by reflecting on the imperialism of Europe. The author shows how imperialism is costly and ridiculous especially in its conquests of Africa. The profitability does not equal the amount of money it took to try and obtain it. In essence, the end did not justify the means. Excerpts teem with notions of ridiculous attempts at explaining how the gaining of resources from Africa justified how much effort actually went into obtaining them.

Imperialism sprouted in the European nations of France, Great Britain, and Spain in the nineteenth century. They had worked on claiming areas of the Americas, in order to gain ownership of its resources, and tried to impose and convert its people to Christianity. The colonies brought about by imperialism, and brought a wealth of new natural resources to Europe. At that time the new colonies proved to be highly profitable. New resources were brought to Europe including precious metals that helped the nations to become richer, settle debts, and wage wars. In The Heart of Darkness, Conrad explores European Imperialism in Africa. The Heart of Darkness discusses a paradox of imperialism in the treatment of the native Africans. Slave labor had been no stranger to European culture and history. Slaves were gained through the conquest of another area, or they were given as payment for debt. Europeans exploited and used others of what they would consider “uncivilized” nations for their hard labor. Imperialistic Europeans basically turned the term slaves into criminals. Conrad shows that these “criminals” had no rule of law. If natives were claimed to be criminals, they were forced to work for others to contribute to society. Though slavery had been abolished in much of European society, it would appear that it was still practiced, and merely named something else, thus the paradox of imperialism. Another...

Cited: Conrad, Joseph. The Heart of Darkness. Eighth Edition. 2. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2005. 1633-1692. Print.
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