Imperialism: Backfired

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  • Topic: The Man Who Would Be King, Rudyard Kipling, Africa
  • Pages : 3 (852 words )
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  • Published : July 19, 2006
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Imperialism: Backfired
As history has shown, stronger nations regularly use imperialism over smaller nations to gain a benefit for themselves. However, both Joseph Conrad's "Heart of Darkness" and Rudyard Kipling's "The Man Who Would Be King" depicts how imperialism leads to madness and evil behavior as moral and ethical boundaries are taken away. Conrad's "Heart of Darkness" tells the story of Marlow and Kurtz, two men working together in Africa with varying opinions regarding imperialism. Kipling's "The Man Who Would Be King" tells the story of two veterans, Daniel Dravot and Peachey Carnehan, and their imperialist based schemes based upon convincing people that they are kings and have divine power. Kipling and Conrad both make it clear that even though a strong nation may gain a material benefit for themselves through imperialism, the same nation will lose morals and ethics as a direct result of the imperialism.

In "Heart of Darkness" by Joseph Conrad, Marlow is shown to be skeptical about imperialism. The Company he captains for, on the other hand, is shown to be money driven. The Company trades along the Congo in Africa and exploits many Africans. Marlow observes the following: Six black men advancing in a file, toiling up the path. They walked erect and slow, balancing small baskets full of earth on their heads, and the clink kept time with their footsteps. ...I could see every rib, the joints of their limbs were like knots in a rope; each had an iron collar on his neck, and all were connected together with a chain whose bights swung between them...(260) Obviously, the Company is exploiting these workers and they can't do anything about it. Kurtz, on the other hand, is consistently friendly with the natives, angering his European acquaintances in the process. Kurtz has convinced the African people that he is a god. He tells stories of going on brutal raids in search of ivory. Kurtz last words before dying were, "The horror! The horror!" (313) as he...
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