preview

The Importance Of Imperialism In Joseph Conrad's Heart Of Darkness

Good Essays
When met with recent history, the ideas that supported imperialism in 1800s are more excuses to conquer rather than reasons to civilize. While most Europeans blindly agreed to the practice, Joseph Conrad protested it in his novella Heart of Darkness. Imperialism held pride in raising the bar in Europe’s economy, disgusting Conrad with the superiority the trading heads seem to exalt. Conrad expresses his negative opinion on European imperialism by empathizing businessmen’s and pilgrims’ malicious acts and the natives’ innocence. He also uses the narrator, Charles Marlow, who tells his story with such passion that it seems unreliable, but the comments he makes throughout both reflect the consensus that Europe had come to and Conrad’s ideas. Throughout the novel Conrad’s opinion shines through, even when the opposite is being expressed. He opens Marlow’s adventure with a boat ride from France to the Congo, in which he sees, “Settlements some centuries old, and still no bigger than pin-heads on the untouched expanse of their background,” (14). This description of these miniscule settlements compared to the roaring industrial machine that is Europe gives a sense of fragility to the natives’ lifestyle. This fragility brings gravity to what is actually going on in Africa later on in the novella. Specifically focusing on Mr. Kurtz, Conrad addresses the censorship of information that gets back to the population residing in Europe. In efforts to spread the success of the company
Get Access