Achebe critique Heart of Darkness

Topics: Joseph Conrad, Chinua Achebe, Heart of Darkness / Pages: 4 (803 words) / Published: Jan 21st, 2014
Landon Meldrum
Mrs. Briggs
AP English IV, 4th period
14 January 2014
An Image of Africa Analysis No matter how strongly an argument is backed up factually, the emotional side of the argument often shines through the pedantic fact based portion. It is the same case with An Image of Africa by Chinua Achebe, because the author was very familiar with the land and portrayal of Africa, and in turn, was deeply offended by Conrad’s writings. In fact, Achebe renounced Heart of Darkness as art altogether, due to the seemingly unfair portrayals of the natives and their homeland in the book as being savage. However, Achebe’s allegations are entirely unwarranted, because Conrad was a product of his time, and even though he was known to embellish his past a bit, was simply portraying the land of Africa as a primitive and simple place, which in some ways most certainly was at the time of the novel. Conrad’s Heart of Darkness without question is art. Firstly, to properly refute Achebe’s point that Heart of Darkness is not art, the word art must be defined. Which is an issue, because of how largely subjective art is. Art is defined by Webster’s Dictionary as, “Something that is created with imagination and skill and that is beautiful or that expresses important ideas or feelings” (Websters 1). Now, that being known, Achebe may have some fair grievances such as, “...a novel which celebrates this dehumanization, which depersonalizes a portion of the human race, can be called art? No, it cannot” (Achebe 9). Achebe is absolutely correct in saying that the status of art may be in question when it is founded on such immoral grounds, but he misses the actual point of Heart of Darkness. It was not ever for the widespread advocation of the rape and pillage of the native’s land and recourses, but an in depth allegory of what those same transgressions can cause. Kurtz, the man who had been exploiting and dominating the natives for his own gain, died and dramatic death. Also, Marlow

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