Here, “heart of darkness” is a shorthand for European stereotypes of Africa, which Conrad’s novel did its part to reinforce.Hamid’s line plays on racist anxieties about immigration: the idea that certain places and peoples are primitive, exotic, dangerous.
Here, “heart of darkness” is a shorthand for European stereotypes of Africa, which Conrad’s novel did its part to reinforce.Tags: Essay Writing Power WordsResearch Paper On BiofuelPopular Essay QuestionsTuition Rise EssaysSamples Of Research Proposal PapersCompulsory Military Service Should Be Abolished In All Countries Essay
Marlow, however, is too cynical to accept this convenient fiction.
The “conquest of the earth”, he says, was not the manifest destiny of European peoples; rather, it simply meant “the taking it away from those who have a different complexion or slightly flatter noses than ourselves.” The idea that Africans and Europeans have more in common than the latter might care to admit recurs later, when Marlow describes observing tribal ceremonies on the banks of the river.
To this extent, it punctures one of the myths of imperialist race theory.
But, as the critic Patrick Brantlinger has argued, it also portrays Congolese villagers as primitiveness personified, inhabitants of a land that time forgot.
Confronted with local villagers “stamping” and “swaying”, their “eyes rolling”, he is shaken by a feeling of “remote kinship with this wild and passionate uproar”.
Whereas most contemporary readers will be cheered by Marlow’s scepticism about the project of empire, this image of Congo’s indigenous inhabitants is more problematic.Heart of Darkness opens on a ship, but not one of the commercial vessels that feature in Conrad’s sea stories.Rather, it’s a private yacht, the , moored at Gravesend, about 20 miles east of the City of London.“Going up that river”, Marlow says, “was like travelling back to the earliest beginnings of the world”, and he accordingly sees the dancing figures as remnants of “prehistoric man”.Heart of Darkness suggests that Europeans are not essentially more highly-evolved or enlightened than the people whose territories they invade.John Attridge does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness - or “The Heart of Darkness”, as it was known to its first readers - was first published as a serial in 1899, in the popular monthly Blackwood’s Magazine. Eliot thought the book was -y enough to provide the epigraph for his epoch-defining poem, The Waste Land - although another American poet, Ezra Pound, talked him out of using it.When, amidst the gathering “gloom”, he begins to reminisce about his stint as a “fresh-water sailor”, his companions know they are in for one of his “inconclusive experiences”.Setting the opening of Heart of Darkness on the Thames also allowed Conrad to foreshadow one of the novel’s central conceits: the lack of any absolute, essential difference between so-called civilized societies and so-called primitive ones.Almost as soon as he arrives in the Congo, Marlow begins to hear rumours about another company employee, Kurtz, who is stationed deep in the interior of the country, hundreds of miles up the Congo River.The second half of the novel - or novella, as it’s often labelled - relates Marlow’s journey upriver and his meeting with Kurtz.