Heart of darkness is a novel written by a man called Joseph Conrad. It is a novel that has gained intense reputation in its exploration and use of the English literature, and thus has been regarded as one of the laws of the west. The main character in the book is a man by the name Charles Marlow. He is an Englishman who had the opportunity to take up the role of a foreign assignment from a trading company in Belgium and acted as a ferry-boat captain in the continent of Africa. The story begins and ends in London on the Nellie on the Thames, with most of the action taking place in the African soil at a place called the republic of the Congo.
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The paradoxes of imperialism and its processes of oppression have been on the effect of many families and individuals of many nations for a number of centuries. It is true that the act of imperialism has cost many lives and loss of property among other humiliating acts as loss of dignity and power among nations. The issues of imperialism are revealed in a complicated way that cannot be easily understood. At the mention of the title of the novel, “Heart of Darkness” a poignant and horrendous brutalism is manifested. This marks the introductory part of the imperialism that is yet to be experienced by the characters involved in the episode. The imperialism is vehemently hypocritical in this scenario. The darkness in the title is a clear indication of the darkness of the human heart that solicits subsequent feelings. Still on this scenario of darkness, Marlow happens to let out the words; “and this also has been one of the dark places of the earth.” An aspect of imperialism is obvious in these scenes as there is no equality among the existing nations marked by the difference in the ideas and wrong perceptions of the people. Marlow happens to be traveling one day from the outer station to the central station and finally up the river to the inner station. What happens to him are the unexpected. He encounters varied scenarios of cruelty, human torture and slavery of the countrymen. It happens that the root or rather the genesis of this brutalism arises from a harsh colonial enterprise that acts against the will of the colonized. This is a true justification of imperialism that has extended to notorious levels. It also dawns to Marlow that the impetus that underlay his experience also had to do with the inherent hypocrisy that skillfully took to the rhetoric justification of imperialism.
It is very evident that the men who work for the company have their knowledge skewed to an idea that they are trading. They belief that the treatments and injustices they are experiencing are part of the compassionate project of civilization. This is a real and an open show of imperialism that has taken advantage of the little understanding of the native African men. On the other hand, Kurtz, another unanimous character is very open on what he does. He is open and justifies to his characteristics of imperialism. He admits that he does not trade for ivory but he takes it the way he likes, and by force. He even goes to an extent of describing his kinds of treatments of the African men in words as suppression and extermination. This also helps to reveal the fact that he does not work towards negating imperialism. This shows that he rules through violence and by intimidating others. By doing this he is able to get what he wants at any given time and in any place. It is upon this frank nature that the kind of treatment of the native Africans by the Europeans is revealed. This however plays a role in the major downfalls that he finds himself in; they wanted to have their imperialism hidden without any bit of revelation.
In this book of heart of darkness, Africans are taken as objects and tools of trade. As much as Marlow, Kurtz and the company are of concern, the Africans are called and treated as pieces of machinery in the workplace. The only higher ranking of an African mistress was that of a statutory. The African people were treated brutally and they had no question to air upon their mistreatment in their look for justice and fairness. It is therefore clear that the novel, Heart of darkness, perpetuates the oppression of the nonwhites in their own soils. Kurtz behaves arrogantly to the African men who unknowingly, were supposed to partake of the possession of the company. They were not eloquent enough to have the knowledge to eat of the fruits of their sweat. Marlow treats Africans as mare backdrops. He refers to them as human screens on which he can play his philosophical and existential struggles.
To Marlow, the existence of Africans provides for him a self contemplation out of their exoticism. This also reveals another difficult kind of dehumanization that is difficult to contemplate and is more than colonial violence and /or open racism. As a result of the novel heart of darkness, it is quite evident that there is a powerful condemnation of the operations of imperialism. It is also evident that there are other issues that surrounds race, and are mush more troubling than open racism, an aspect which is common even in the world today.
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