What Is The Theme Of Racism In Heart Of Darkness

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The themes of racism and discrimination against the people living in Africa (Congo) are present in the novel Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad. There have been many discussions about whether Marlow (the main character and narrator) and Conrad are the same person and the literary critics are still at war regarding this question. There are some who claim that Conrad is a "bloody racist" for his "white racism against Africa" . First of all, Africa is presented as an . Secondly, the people are described as animals, savages, with no rights whatsoever, as compared to their sophisticated British fellows whose only aim is to "educate and civilize them". Moreover, the natives are totally dehumanized by not having even proper names and therefore they…show more content…
He regards them as savage people with some kind of bestial behaviour. These "animals" know nothing of the moral codes to which the British are used to. A huge difference can be noticed in Conrad’s description of the British and the natives. An example of this is the way Marlow describes the two women present in Kurtz’s life. One of them is his fiancé, an English woman who is an embodiment of true love and loyalty. The main character’s fascination by this refined woman in mourning cannot be more obvious. Then, on the other hand, there is Kurtz’s mistress, a black woman from a tribe in Congo. Her extravagant appearance, piercing eyes and unusual body movements intimidate Marlow. But, Conrad does not seem to stop here. He goes even further with the dehumanization of the natives. They do not have proper names and therefore they are referred to as . Why would someone use such words to describe human beings, but not a proper way to address them? Conrad tried to defend himself by saying: . But, then he contradicts himself in Heart of Darkness stating: . The thought of being related to black people disgusts him - can one be more racist than…show more content…
One would say that it is justifiable since Conrad lived in a period when what now seems racist and discriminatory, was completely normal then. His environment and surrounding were racist at that time . But, was it really necessary to make Europe superior to Africa in every aspect, not to consider the people living there as human beings, but as animals and even to deprive them from the crucial means of communication? It seems like Conrad went to extremes setting the English as an example of sophistication, education and righteousness and on the other hand, the African an instance of wilderness, bestiality and ignorance. Even nowadays, there are many people who consider the white race to be culturally and intellectually superior to the black race. Critics will always find evidence to support their claims about what is racist and what is not in Heart of Darkness and it is up to us as readers to decide which side to
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