Imperialism Within the Heart of Darkness

Topics: Joseph Conrad, Novel, Africa Pages: 3 (1143 words) Published: January 24, 2013
Imperialism within the Heart of Darkness
A phenomenon, The Heart of Darkness, is a classic novel by Joseph Conrad, who reward individuals with their dark nature. The darkness that the characters face within themselves is the anchor towards the main theme of imperialism. Native Africans, around the early 1900s, were victims of imperialism in the novel. The Europeans saw themselves as prodigies and felt everyone redundant wanted to be like them for they perceived themselves as extraordinary. The Europeans thought so highly of themselves that they wanted to civilize what they perceived the Native Africans to be—savages. Ironically, the process of civilization became imperialism, and the Europeans were the definition of savage while the Native Africans perceived themselves as civilized. Conrad strategically evolved this theme with the narrative of his novel and the various tones and symbols he used revolving around imperialism. These literary strategies and devices led readers to understand the secret of the darkness in the European heart, which was European imperialism.

Entering the novel, Conrad has the narrator explain: “It was difficult to realize that his (the Director of Companies) work was not out there in the luminous estuary, but behind him within the brooding gloom” (Conrad 1). Here, Conrad’s use of pathetic fallacy forewarns his audience from the very beginning that the European companies are working in an unlawful matter ( The Europeans are vague, and the fact they are working within the dark makes them more malicious. This behaviour leads to having an imperialistic nature because in order to have the desire to take over a race, in this case the Native Africans, one needs to already be in tuned with their dark nature. Conrad includes a second narrator, the protagonist to The Heart of Darkness, who makes a remark to the beautiful sunset over the Thames river in London saying: “‘And this also,’ said Marlow suddenly, ‘has been one of the dark...

Cited: “Heart of Darkness." Shmoop. Shmoop University, n.d. Web. 07 Jan. 2013. .
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