Imperalism: Heart of Darkness

Powerful Essays
Imperialism: Heart of Darkness
ENGU 104
June 14, 2012

Imperialism Critique: Heart of Darkness
Table of Contents

Introduction Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness was published in 1902 and was one of the first modern novels of that time. Heart of Darkness is a psychological journey to Africa on a ship named the Nellie. One of the characters, Marlow, an agent for a Belgian Ivory Trading firm, recounts his journey into Africa. This journey is shared with a grim account on imperialism. Hunt Hawkins believes that Conrad’s Heart of Darkness was an anti-imperialism novel, as opposed to what some may believe while reading the novel; an example would be Chinua Achebe, who believes the novel to be racist and de-humanizing. Imperialism in Africa was evident in Conrad’s Heart of Darkness and the affects of it was not only political, but also social, psychological, and spiritual. This essay will show a critical deconstruction on imperialism and Conrad’s work.
Background
In order to understand the point of this essay, one would need to understand what deconstruction is as well as imperialism. Deconstruction, according to Jacques Derrida, started in late 1960s France and “upends the Western metaphysical tradition. It represents a complex response to a variety of theoretical and philosophical movements of the 20th century. Barbara Johnson writes that “The term denotes a particular kind of practice in reading and, thereby, a method of criticism and mode of analytical inquiry…A deconstructive reading is a reading which analyses the specificity of a text’s critical difference from itself” . Imperialism has many meanings, one is that it is a “imperial government, authority, or system” , but this is not the definition of imperialism that will be used in this essay. Imperialism can also mean a “policy, practice, or advocacy of extending the power and dominion of a nation especially by direct territorial acquisitions or by gaining indirect control over

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