Heart Of Darkness By Joseph Conrad

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In the story Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad a sailor decides to travel to Africa on a whim, using family connections he enlists as the captain of a ship travelling up the Congo River. The novella provides many themes, however is the text in itself racist? One of the main concepts portrayed in Heart of Darkness is the treatment of the natives of Africa and their image. This is most commonly shown through the disparity of the image between what is said in the novel and what can be read through subtext. Hunters for gold or pursuers of fame, they all had gone out on that stream, bearing the sword, and often the torch, messengers of the might within the land, bearers of a spark from the sacred fire. What greatness had not floated on the ebb of that river into the mystery of an unknown earth!…The dreams of men, the seed of commonwealths, the germs of empires. (1.6) The image shown is that the men are great adventurers seeking wealth and happiness, but is contrasting the fact that these supposed wonderful people are raping and enslaving another people. It is without a doubt that there is racism portrayed in the story and the implication is that Conrad is racist as well, however the cartoonish way it is shown makes it seem as though he is simply showing the darkness of humanity. The point of view taken by Marlow in the novella shows what people were like at the time the story takes place. How, even when sympathetic towards a different race, he is still unable to see

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