AP Literature Period 6
3 January 2013
I agree with Achebe’s opinion on Conrad in the fact that he abandons making Africans into anything other than objects in The Heart of Darkness, but I do not think this necessarily makes him a racist. I believe that just because someone doesn’t consider the humanity of other people, it doesn’t really make them a racist, but it does not mean they aren’t ignorant.
Conrad wants to emphasize that Kurtz has been destroyed by a lack of humanity, but he could have just as easily had the story happen in the Amazon, or in the Far East. Chinua‘s assessment is probably based on some other elements of racism where he is so willing to dish out the word. All it makes me think of is when someone believes another person does not like him or her and therefore that person is a racist. The story is a universal one and Conrad’s lack of sensitivity is nothing more than using the generally unknown to tell a larger story that is nothing as trivial as a race story.
Most people can’t distinguish imperialism from racism; therefore explaining why most people would think that Conrad is a racist. Imperialism is basically taking advantage of another weaker country by a stronger country. When Achebe acknowledges Conrad’s being more “nice” to the African objects in this since he’s saying that Conrad’s main objective is to show the harmful effects of Imperialism has on the Africans in general. However just because something isn’t right doesn’t mean you think the opposite; for an example: if the American government is torturing a terrorist, you don’t necessarily believe they should torture him/her do you? But that doesn’t mean you want him to come live next door to you. You can be anti-Imperialist and racist, but I don’t think Chinua is saying he’s trying to be racist merely that he is. Perhaps it can’t be helped because he lived in the era when Africans were so favorable. This book has merit because it helps one know of the...
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