Critique of Chinua Achebe's response to Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness.

Essay by pr0crastinati0nx33High School, 10th grade May 2008

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English (Heart of Darkness)

Task 3 (20 Points) Heart of Darkness

2. Read Chinua Achebe's response to Heart of Darkness. Do you think Conrad was a racist or is the novel a critique of colonialism? Renowned author, Joseph Conrad's "Heart of Darkness" has often been described as being "among the half dozen greatest short novels in the English language." However, it has certainly received its fair share of criticism and critique from the literate world. One such novelist, Chinua Achebe has not only thoroughly analyzed the novel but also criticized and responded to the "racial and dehumanizing matters present" in a negative way. Born in 1930, Chinua Achebe is an African novelist, noted and celebrated for his talents in literature. After being educated - in English- at the university of Ibadan, Achebe wrote many texts and novels during his career. Being a man with big opinions, Achebe was fond of critical writing, especially on topics such as post colonialism and imperialism.

Nowhere does he better convey his feelings than in his essayed response to Joseph Conrad's "Heart of Darkness". Beginning his text with his own motivations for writing this response, Achebe is quick to ask the big questions: "Can such a book, really be considered among the half dozen greatest short story novels in English literature, read and reviewed by serious academics around the world?" Achebe scrutinize the descriptions of landscape and imagery of Africa given by Conrad and the many contrasts it holds with the scenes of England. He takes out the pin points of comparison, the two rivers Thames and the Congo, as examples of the way Conrad was racially biased. Conrad begins "Heart of Darkness" with descriptions of the English river Thames, resting tranquil and peaceful "at the decline of day after ages of...