Heart of Darkness Essay

984 Words Oct 21st, 1999 4 Pages
1. Does Conrad really "otherize," or impose racist ideology upon, the Africans in Heart of Darkness, or does Achebe merely see Conrad from the point of view of an African? Is it merely a matter of view point, or does there exist greater underlying meaning in the definition of racism?
<br>2. How does Achebe's personal history and the context in which he wrote "An Image of Africa: Racism in Conrad's Heart of Darkness" reflect the manner in which he views Conrad's idea of racism in the novel?
<br>3. Taking into account Achebe's assumptions and analysis of racism in Heart of Darkness, how does this change Conrad's novel as a literary work, if it does at all?
<br>The literal heart of darkness in Conrad's novel Heart of Darkness does
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Achebe thus elucidates how "Conrad seems...to approve of Marlow, with only minor reservations -- a fact reinforced by the similarities between their two careers." (10)
<br>Furthermore, Achebe views Conrad as espousing a kind of liberalism that "touched all the best minds of the age in England, Europe and America. It took different forms in the minds of different people but almost always managed to sidestep the ultimate question of equality between white people and black people...[Conrad] would not use the word 'brother' however qualified; the farthest he would go was 'kinship.'" (11) in Heart of Darkness. Recognizing this fundamental flaw in Conrad, Achebe thus labels the white European author a "thoroughgoing racist" (11).
<br>Although many students "will point out to you that Conrad is, if anything, less charitable to the Europeans in the story than he is to the natives, that the point of the story is to ridicule Europe's civilizing mission in Africa" (12), and despite the fact that Achebe recognizes to a certain extent that Africa serves as a setting and backdrop which eliminates the African as a human factor, he challenges readers of Heart of Darkness to "see the preposterous and perverse arrogance in thus reducing Africa

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