Racism in Heart of Darkness

Only available on StudyMode
  • Download(s) : 338
  • Published : July 5, 2005
Open Document
Text Preview
What is racism? Racism can be defined as – "The belief that race accounts for differences in human character or ability and that a particular race is superior to others." Racism occurs when a racist group finds it necessary to put down other ethnic groups in an attempt to strengthen their own. A very strong racist comment or action might make the other group feel hurtful, degrading, humiliating. The novel, "Heart of darkness", written by Joseph Conrad provides such instances which are racist and biased against the people living in Africa. Heart of Darkness is a story in which racism presents itself so deliberately that, for many, the dilemma of race must be tackled before anything else in the book may be dealt with. Conrad used derogatory, outdated and offensive terminology for devaluation of people's color as savages. This use of language disturbs many readers who read this book. Although Conrad uses racist language in this book, it doesn't mean that he is really racist. When we look at the language, we are just looking at the very surface of the story. Heart of Darkness is a story full of irony and deception. At one point, Conrad made a very interesting point. He suggested that the light is used to indicate deceit in Heart of Darkness. Conrad uses the character of Marlow to make use of his own thoughts and views about the people in the Congo. He feels pity for them as he sees them falling down carrying heavy packages and Kurtz commanding them like a batallion of troups. This sight angers Marlow and when he gets to Kurtz, it's too late. Even he has been pulled in by the darkness. Conrad makes an effective distinction between Marlow and Kurtz. Marlow is a voice of reason, goodwill, and light, whereas Kurtz is evil, heart of darkness and destruction. Therefore in conclusion, we see that Achebe clearly identifies "Heart of Darkness" as a racist book. He disagrees with Lionel Trilling as they both have complete opposite views. In my point of view, I would lean...
tracking img