The Evil of Colonialism and Imperialism in Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

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Exploring the Evil of Colonialism in Heart of Darkness

A masterpiece of twentieth-century writing, Heart of Darkness exposes the tenuous fabric that holds "civilization" together and the brutal horror at the center of European colonialism. Joseph Conrad's novella, Heart of Darkness, describes a life-altering journey that the protagonist, Marlow, experiences in the African Congo. The story explores the historical period of colonialism in Africa to exemplify Marlow's struggles. Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness is most often read as an attack upon colonialism. Marlow, like other Europeans of his time, is brought up to believe certain things about colonialism, but his views change as he experiences the effects of colonialism first
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Marlow also makes the comment that the accountant had "verily accomplished something" when he taught a native woman to do his laundry. He admired the fact that the accountant had actually done part of the real duty of colonization by civilizing a native to some degree. Marlow also learns that he is of the "gang of virtue" and that he is part of the "party of the unsound method,' just as Kurtz was when he arrived. The unsound method, as evidenced by the paper Kurtz came to Africa to write, refers to the movement to redirect colonization efforts toward civilizing the natives. When Kurtz dies, Marlow identifies himself as the last surviving party of the "unsound method." Thus, Marlow, the hero of the book, is clearly for the colonization and civilization of other peoples.

Through Kurtz, Marlow finds out what colonialism can do to a man 's soul if he lets go of this morality, and gets carried away into the 'colonial darkness'. Kurtz is a man praised by everyone for his knowledge and ability to bring progress. He is proclaimed a "universal genius" (Conrad 91). He is even chosen by the 'International Society for the Suppression of Savage Customs' to write a report for them, but on the very last page he scribbled in, "Exterminate the Brutes" (Conrad 117). I think this represents the shared colonial attitude towards the African people.

As Kurtz approaches
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