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Themes and Literary Techniqes Used in Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness

Decent Essays
Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness
A.
Conrad’s Heart of Darkness has been criticized as a novel filled with blatant racism, because of its dehumanization of the Africans through name calling and portrayal of them as inhuman. I agree that the terms and wording of this novel are racist and very inappropriate for today’s world to use, but we have to remind ourselves of the time period in which this was written. Conrad’s use of racist remarks like “savages” and the “N” word to label the Africans in the story reflect the beliefs and thoughts of Britain at that time. The lifestyles of the natives were seen as unsophisticated and alien to more refined middle and upper classes of eastern civilizations. It was a different world that what they were used to. Conrad, himself, seemed to have had issues with people of color. His focus and slight obsession with the “black” skin of the natives can be seems in lines like “A black figure stood up, strode on long black legs, waving long black arms....” White people, in those times and still today, see themselves as the superior race to all races. It is just an attitude that has existed throughout history; though it has lessened within the past half century. Even though something holds values that modern societies deem wrong and unforgivable doesn’t mean it is not a great piece of art.

B.
Joseph Conrad frequently used paired diction to create complex description and thematic meaning to his work. One example of this pairing can seem
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