The Purpose Of Heart Of Darkness

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2. Comparison of Purpose 2.1. Achebe: To Denounce Heart of Darkness Chinua Achebe is considered as the man who redefined our way of reading Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. Indeed, while focusing on the description of Africa, the father of African literature criticized the novella for its racist stereotypes towards Africans and highlights the colonizer’s oppression on them. Even after thirty four years after his first delivered public lecture excoriating the book, “An image of Africa” he spoke again against it in an interview with Robert Siegel where he related that its author “was a seductive writer. He could pull his reader into the fray. And if it were not for what he said about me and my people, I would probably be thinking only of that seduction."…show more content…
But when reading it, one must take into consideration the experience of its author in Africa. Indeed, the most part of Heart of Darkness is the product of a real exploration to the Congo during the nineteenth century. It retells the story of a man who has been there and who understood the fragility of identity. Hence, it explores the deterioration of human beings and how they have completely changed when they are not at their right place. This is reported by the old doctor at the beginning of the novella as he says “it would be interesting for science to watch the mental changes of individuals, on the spot” (27). Furthermore, Caryl Phillips shares the opinion of Bhabha who argued that “what is disavowed [in the colonized culture] is not repressed but repeated as something different--a mutation, a hybrid." To explain, Heart of Darkness demonstrates how the two cultures affect each other for better and worse. Thus, it may be seen as a symbol of the English obsession with richness and power and as the cruelty and brutality of the natives. As a matter of fact, the novella makes us realize the “difficulty of understanding the world beyond the self, about the ability of one man to judge another,” as Phillips…show more content…
Conrad understood this to be the predicament of our times. Mercifully, most of us will never have to face these questions, but if confronted with our own metaphorical heart of darkness would we have the strength to hold on to the old values while sitting in judgment on the new? Would we have the courage to stare down at “the horror” of whatever it is that lurks in the basement of our modern souls? Therefore, Caryl Phillips goes beyond what may seem as racist comments in Heart of Darkness and focuses on the encounter of the white colonizer with the natives in Africa. He believes that the book is only “an expounder of human experiences” when being confronted to a new environment. That is why he refutes Achebe’s claims and maintains his point of view. His two works; “Heartland” and “Out of Africa” are the best examples to explain how he manages to defend Conrad’s
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