Is the Heart of Darkness Racist?

Essay by rozalynduronHigh School, 10th gradeA-, September 2014

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Duron 1

Rozalyn Duron

November 14th, 2013

Becker, Honors English

Period 1

Is Heart of Darkness Indeed, Racist?

Throughout the novella of Heart of Darkness written by Joseph Conrad, Marlow, the main character of the story, goes through idolizing Kurtz. Kurtz is a man who had come to Africa to civilize the Africans, but as the novella goes on, the audience sees him almost change entirely. In correspondence, Achebe wrote the book Things Fall Apart. His story is also centered in the heart of Africa, but this time, from the African's point of view. The story Heart of Darkness can be viewed in many different ways, but in Achebe's Criticisms of Heart of Darkness, it is clearly portrayed that Heart of Darkness is a racist and biased book.

Furthermore, Conrad's diction makes a big impact on what Achebe's criticisms lean towards. When describing the Africans, he used very negative context.

"... What thrilled you was just the thought of humanity-like ours" claiming they are not human-- "the thought of your remote kinship with this wild and passionate uproar. Ugly."(Achebe Paragraph 13) --calling their kinship, ugly. By analyzing just this one simple quote, a lot of racism is already portrayed. He is practically referring to the Africans as some sort of species that is not human. He also calls their kinship "ugly". He vividly uses not only diction, but imagery as well to examine his inner thoughts of Africans throughout the story. "He ought to have been clapping his hands" like an animal, "… and stamping his feet on the back, instead of which he was hard at work, a thrall to strange witchcraft, full of improving knowledge."(Achebe Chapter 15), calling him ignorant. Insofar, it is obvious how Conrad has portrayed the Africans to his audience.

Not only through Conrad's...