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Heart of Darkness

By | December 2012
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Heart of Darkness
Heart of Darkness projects the image of Africa as "the other world," the antithesis of Europe and therefore of civilization, a place where man's vaunted intelligence and refinement are finally mocked by triumphant beastiality. --Chinua Achebe

In this quote Chinua Achebe is making his case against Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. He is saying that the novel shows Africa and its people as animals and the complete opposite of the white man in Europe. However this is truly not the case, the Europeans end up becoming the animals not the African people. From the very beginning of the novel one can see that the story of Marlow is going to be a dark and interesting one. While traveling the Thames River at the start of the novel, Marlow states, “And this also has been one of the dark places of the earth” (Conrad 48). This seems as if Conrad is trying to make the reader insinuate that the rest of the story is only going to get darker. Obviously this assumption is correct due to the fact that Marlow ends up traveling deep into the heart of the Congo to find Kurtz and discover the “horror” that lies deep within the heart of darkness.

Heart of Darkness portrays a lot of symbolism such as the idea that light is greater then dark. Throughout the entire story the reader sees the comparison that the white man is better then the native people, but in actuality the white people are worse than the native people. It is actually very different to what people think. The Europeans that are trying to “civilize” the African people are really more uncivilized. The way that the natives are treated and forced to work is inhumane. Civilization is the heart of darkness, meaning that white people going into Africa forcing the black people to work as slaves to find ivory is the actual evil and darkness that is symbolized in Conrad’s story. In other words, the horror that Kurtz sees while with the natives is how the Europeans enslave and abuse the African people. The...
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