Heart of Darkness Is Not a Racist Novel

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José Cruz
British Literature
Block 4
3/15/12

In the early 1900s, authors used writing to critique society during the rule of the British Empire. They emphasized the faults of this empire as they showed in their consequences in society. Joseph Conrad is believed to have written novellas of racist nature, stirring uneasy emotions in critics and readers. However, Conrad was using his books as a way to reveal the fault that white men developed against natives in the Congo. Conrad was attempting to oppose the ways of European men who discriminate against people of color, who also lived in a land far away from theirs. Conrad employs a sympathetic tone throughout his Heart of Darkness to convey the negative perception of white superiority. He instructs the reader on how other races were treated in his time during the rule of the British Empire. Conrad himself did not approve of this commentary on the part of his fellow Englishmen, and believed that in writing his novella, he would be able to alter the mentality of his nation against racism. In the book, as Marlow explored the Company Station, he observed several figures in the shades of trees: “They were dying slowly — it was very clear. They were not enemies, they were not criminals, they were nothing earthly now, — nothing but black shadows of disease and starvation, lying confusedly in the greenish gloom” (Conrad). In this passage, he describes the state of the slaves as they approached Marlow. He mentions that they are suffering for the neglect of the white men whom they work for, the bosses of the Station. In his state of mind, Marlow did not view the slaves as hostile or delinquent. Instead, he saw how helpless they seemed and how intently one was scrutinizing him. Afterward, he decided to feed one of these slaves with food. Marlow’s act of kindness demonstrated the sympathy that the slaves stirred in him as he sat down to enjoy the shade of the trees. Through Marlow, Conrad gives his belief on how the...
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