Essay on Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness

1276 Words6 Pages
In the present era of decolonization, Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness presents one of fictions strongest accounts of British imperialism. Conrad’s attitude towards imperialism and race has been the subject of much literary and historical debate. Many literary critics view Conrad as accepting blindly the arrogant attitude of the white male European and condemn Conrad to be a racist and imperialists. The other side vehemently defends Conrad, perceiving the novel to be an attack on imperialism and the colonial experience. Understanding the two viewpoints side by side provides a unique understanding that leads to a commonality that both share; the novel simply presents a criticism of colonialists in Africa. The novel merely portrays a…show more content…
The stadial theory helped to differentiate the British with the less ‘civilized’ nations, where the British stood as the highest form of civilization and thus assumed the moral responsibility to bring their enlightened ways to the ‘uncivilized’ peoples of the world. The British began to see that the ‘others’ had agency and thus the ability to develop into a society similar to theirs in due time.
Imperialism was unnecessary, so long as the British Empire maintained control of the world market. Once Germany, Belgium, and The United States were able to compete with the monopoly the British Empire had created, this forced the British Empire to explore new markets. It was the sudden demand for new foreign markets to adopt Imperialism as a political policy moving forward (Hobson 1). Imperial rule transformed colonies most notably in Africa, Australia, and India bringing British ideas of land, private property, and wealth. Industrialization piggybacked imperialism, laying railway tracks and cable wires across the face of the colonized civilizations. Local indigenous industries unable to compete with the British, collapsed and a consequent destruction of livelihood and community followed (Colley 3). The negative impacts of colonialism are generally given more focus than the productivity and positive
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