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Heart of Darkness

Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad In Joseph Conrad's novel, 'Heart of Darkness', the term "darkness" can be related to a few different meanings. Conrad uses this term in various ways to characterize social, political and psychological affairs in order to help the reader get a feel of his attitudes towards things, such as colonialism, Africa, and civilization.The first impression of the word "darkness" in relations to this novel that I understood was its reference to racism. This, I got from the way Conrad writes about the White people and how they treated the natives (Black), in Africa. During the colonization of Africa, forced ideals of a race that thought of themselves as more superior than those who occupied that land before them existed. This is demonstrated as Conrad writes about how the Whites completely dominate the Blacks in Africa. A significant passage from the novel illustrating this point is when Marlow describes, " Black shapes crouched, layThe work was going onthis was the place where some of the helpers had withdrawn to diethey were nothing earthly now, nothing but black shadows of disease and starvation, lying confusedly in the greenish gloom" (34-35). The natives were not "helpers", but slaves who were forced to work till physical exhaustion under the orders of the White colonist. To further support the idea of racism as seen in this novel, consider the description that Marlow gives about an incident he encounters, "And whiles I had to look after the savage who was a firemanto look at him was as edifying as seeing a dog in a parody of breeches and a feather hat, walking on his hind-legshe was useful because he had been instructed" (63-64). From this, Conrad acknowledges that although the natives take on some White Lai 2characteristics, they are still seen as inferior. In that passage, the fireman is seen as a joke. Not as a man, but a "dog in breeches". Therefore, no matter how educat...

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