Writing Critically

Essay by ebury1College, UndergraduateB+, November 2014

download word file, 6 pages 0.0

Emily Bury / 200851354 / Emily Ennis / Writing Critically

Writing Critically: Critical Comparison

Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad continues to be a catalyst for conflicting criticism, with concerns of race and imperialism controversially being at the forefront of the novella. Chinua Achebe's essay An Image of Africa brought forth the postcolonial-fuelled attack on Conrad, creating a continuous chain of criticism in response, such as Hunt Hawkins' Heart of Darkness and Racism. As Achebe once claimed Conrad to be a 'bloody racist', Hawkins' essay builds upon these ideas whilst alternatively offering a reading of Heart of Darkness to be instead a critique of imperialism and European expansion. [1: Conrad, Joseph, and Paul B Armstrong, 'An Image of Africa' in Heart Of Darkness (New York, U.S.: W.W. Norton & Co., 2006) pp. 336-34][2: Conrad, Joseph, and Paul B Armstrong, 'Heart of Darkness and Racism' in Heart Of Darkness (New York, U.S.:

W.W. Norton & Co., 2006) pp. 365-375][3: Achebe, Chinua, 'Chancellor's Lecture', 18 February 1975]

For Achebe, Heart of Darkness reveals Conrad's own racist beliefs through the narration of Marlow with his 'dehumanisation of… Africans'. As the reader and Marlow's listeners 'hear about one of [his] inconclusive experiences' there are clear insinuations of an ambiguous story, with no clear message to be conveyed. However, unlike other critics, Achebe's ideas are indubitably certain. Like imperialism expands and colonises for an Empire's personal gain, within the novella Conrad is also 'reducing Africa to the role of props' to simply explore 'the deterioration of one European mind'. The importance placed on the white men over the clearly absent natives thus reveals Conrad as being a racist and an imperialist, according to Achebe.[4: Conrad, Joseph, and Paul B Armstrong, Heart Of Darkness (New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 2006)]

Hawkins, on...