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Imperialism in Heart of Darkness


Before being published in the present form of the novel, Heart of Darkness was printed in a serial form in 1899 and then part of a volume entitled Youth: A Story and 2 Other Stories in 1902. Based upon Conrad’s own individual experiences after the African country of the Congo and the well-known Congo River flowing through this country the story assumed today book. It was in this year 1890 that Conrad had actually performed his cruising trip upon the river Congo as a captain or skipper of a Belgian steamship.

During his trips, Conrad studied in the beginning hand the conditions which prevailed in the Congo and formed his own impressions of the sort of life which the savages were leading under the imperialist Belgian rule. Conrad also observed the mindset of white traders and their way of dealing with the native savages. His response to the treatment was unpleasant and, in reality, he was significantly shocked and even stunned at what he observed. We find in his novel, Heart of Darkness, more or less a record of all this which experienced throughout his own journeys through the Congo and the Dark Continent.

The title of the novel Heart of darkness symbolizes simply the interior of the dark nation known as the Congo. The theme of Heart of Darkness is the conditions dominating in the Congo under the imperialist guideline of the Belgian King, Leopold II. These conditions include the effect of white traders and explorers on the life of the African savages, and the impact of the native lifestyle on the white man, with unique recommendation to one guy who is offered the name of Kurtz. In reality, Conrad’s unique Heart of Darkness has several themes, one of which is the style of imperialist exploration of a backwards country.

In this essay I’ll reveal imperialism stepped in with his life and Conrad as a victim of imperialism; the experiences of Conrad in the dark country of the Congo where the white guy had actually become not successful in carrying out civilizing function. I will end my essay discussing the white man’s callous treatment towards the native savages and presentation of their hypocrisy in the book. Joseph Conrad (Jozef Teodor Konrad Korzeniowski) worked as sailor on French and British ships prior to ending up being a ‘naturalized British topic’ in 1886. He established an intricate and gorgeous English prose design.

His work was daring and ‘darkly pessimistic’. “One of the most kept in mind practioners of literary impressionism, Conrad offered a fictional rendering of subjective reaction that had an extensive effect on authors like Ford Madox Ford and Virginia Woolf. He composed that the primary task of the novelist was “to make you see. “” Conrad was born in the city of Berdychiv in Russian-controlled Ukraine, on December 3, 1857. Conrad was orphaned at the age of eleven. His father was imprisoned by the Russians for his nationalist political activities. At the age of seventeen he went to Marseille to end up being an apprentice in the merchant marine.

He was employed to take a steamship into Africa, and according to Conrad, the experience of direct scaries of colonial guideline left him a changed male. Heart of Darkness is a fictionalized expedition of his life. Conrad’s novel, Heart of Darkness is largely a record of Conrad’s own experiences in the dark country of the Congo. The character called Marlow, the chief storyteller in the novel, is largely none else but Conrad. Marlow, like Conrad, experiences a strong sense of disillusion and dissatisfaction after observing the behavior of the white traders and also the conditions of the natives.

There is a lot of similarity in between Conrad’s Congo Diary and the contents of the unique Heart of Darkness to justify such an assumption. It may be stated that Marlow’s view of viewpoint of life is very much the same as that of Conrad himself. Conrad in the novel speak about the ineffective efforts of the white-men to civilize the savages. The white-men rather became exploiters. At the time the Congo was being governed by the Belgian King, Leopold II, the Belgian trading companies were sending their representatives into Congo for trading purposes.

The chief product these Belgians discovered worthwhile was ivory and to the native savages ivory was of no usage. The white traders gathered ivory and sent it to Europe where it might be used profitably. We can see, throughout the novel, the reference of ivory is constant and controls the ideas of practically all the white characters, like the supervisor of the Central Station, the Brick Maker, and many others. They loiter around the country looking for ivory and Marlow explains these agents as “faithless pilgrims”. ‘Subsequently we find that ivory not only controls the thoughts of Mr.

Kurtz however has ended up being a fascination with him.’ Marlow is informed by the supervisor of the Central station that Kurtz collects more ivory than all the other representatives created. Hence, ivory becomes the symbol of greed in the unique, symbolizing the white guys’s greed and commercial mindset. We have the failure of Mr. Kurtz to civilize and uplift the savages of the Congo. Even Mr. Kurtz who has begun to recognize himself with the savages, has not done anything for the uplift of the locals. Rather of enhancing their mode of life, he has himself end up being a savage in their business.

He has actually started to satisfy his various lusts without any limits. Even in his prime of life, when he had actually supported the view about white guy’s civilizing role, he had actually jotted down the following words communicating an opposite message “Exterminate all the brutes.” Instead of a civilizing effect in the novel, we discover the white man’s callous treatment towards the savages. The sight seen by Marlow after getting down from the streamer is extremely frustrating and freighting. This reflects the wretchedness and the torment of the natives of the Congo. Marlow sees a great deal of black individuals primarily naked, moving about like ants.

Later on he sees half a lots men chained to one another, and each wearing an iron collar in his neck. Marlow feels deeply upset to see the sight. Alongside, there are several other scenes which plainly demonstrate the hypocrisy of the white men. They are merely wasting time and effort to show that some sort of positive work is going, while in truth there is none. There is a project to construct a train line in this area; however Marlow sees that a rock is being blasted with gunpowder although this rock does not stand as a blockage. Then he also stumbles upon some pieces of rotting machinery, and a big heap of rusty rails.

The whole effort of the white man is entirely misdirected. The futility of the white man’s efforts becomes clearer when we encounter particular workers of the trading business. Marlow’s description of the brick maker is satirical. He describes him as a “paper-mache Mephistopheles” due to the fact that of this man’s cunning. In the end we may say that Conrad has actually exposed the Belgian imperialism in Heart of Darkness. There are wider implications of the Belgian imperialism as depicted by Conrad in his book. It communicates to us the deceit, fraud, slave-trading and other ruthlessness of the Belgian rule.

However Conrad here is not just exposing the hollowness and the weak point of the Belgian imperialist rule over the Congo, but also indirectly remind us of the British imperialist rule over the nations of the world of his time. Heart of Darkness is an autobiographical novel, in the sense that the book consists of indirectly Conrad’s own experiences in the dark nation called the Congo, and is a firsthand account of his own trip upon the river likewise called as the Congo. But the novel is not a straight biography as Conrad doesn’t speak in his own individual however through the character of Marlow and likewise through another storyteller.

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