Open Endedness In Heart Of Darkness

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From the discussion concerning Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness it is evident that the open-endedness in interpretation is a deliberate and integral element of the plot, which is encouraged considerably by the intermediate narrator, Marlow. The critical response by both Chinua Achebe and Edward Said offers valuable insight into the multiple layers that compose the 19th century novella, as well as its parallel to the narrative of imperialism in the British Empire.
Casting aside Conrad’s primacy in the literary canon, Achebe is extremely critical of his stance towards the corrupt ethics of the Empire that manifests in his personal life and his works, all the while taking into consideration the distinct social milieu that has shaped both. In his essay “An Image of Africa: Racism in
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20). When the “savages” get a voice, it is in order to communicate their crude ravenousness, like caricatures:
‘Catch ‘im,’ he snapped with a bloodshot widening of his eyes and a flash of sharp teeth – ‘catch ‘im. Give ‘im to us.’ ‘To you, eh?’ I asked; ‘what would you do with them?’ ‘Eat ‘im!’ he said curtly. (p. 42)
Deprived of their ability to express themselves, it is impossible for the “savages” to engage Marlow in a conversation that would shed light into the workings of the Empire. Marlow continues: “They still belonged to the beginnings of time” (p. 42) and this way, they are rendered incapable of offering an understanding of their own condition, with “the deathlike indifference of unhappy savages”. (p. 18) On the whole, Achebe offers a rigid interpretation of the Heart of Darkness and unapologetically states that Conrad is “a thoroughgoing racist” (p.257). Many of the arguments presented in his essay are based on the premise that Conrad’s beliefs have influenced his work, although there is no definite evidence as a means to conclude
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