Racism In Heart Of Darkness


Chinua Achebe, a well-known writer, once gave a lecture at the University of Massachusetts about Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness, entitled "An Image of Africa: Racism in Conrad's Heart of Darkness." Throughout his essay, Achebe notes how Conrad used Africa as a background only, and how he "set Africa up as a foil to Europe,"(Achebe, p.251) while he also "projects the image of Africa as 'the other world,' the antithesis of Europe and therefore of civilization."(Achebe, p.252) By his own interpretations of the text, Achebe shows that Conrad eliminates "the African as a human factor," thereby "reducing Africa to the role of props."(Achebe, p.257)
In supporting these accusations against ...

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p.255) This lack of human expression and human characteristics is what Achebe says contributes to the overflowing amount of racism within Conrad's novella. Human expression, is one of few things that make us different from animals, along with such things as communication and reason. This of course, being that without human expression, the native woman is considered more of a "savage...wild-eyed and magnificent," (Achebe quoting Conrad, p. 255), possibly even "bestial."
In an attempt to refute Achebe's proposed difference between the two women, C.P. Sarvan said that Conrad perceived the native woman as a "gorgeous, proud, superb, magnificent, terrific, [and] fierce" person whose "human feelings [were] not denied."(Sarvan, p. 284) In comparing the two views, one must step back and consider that both views are only interpretations on what Conrad may have intended. Since no one can ever really know what his actual meanings were for these two women being so similar (in their ...

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PAPER DETAILS
Added: 5/15/2006 05:56:02 PM
Category: Book Reports
Type: Premium Paper
Words: 1210
Pages: 5

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