The Heart of Darkness stands as a profound examination of the hypocrisy of imperialism, and the darkness that results from it. This imperialism embodies
Hunt Hawkins (Racism) Hawkins attempts to answer Achebe’s claims, and while he does not deny some Conrad’s racist characterization of the natives, he contends that the author is more overtly critical of Europeans than he is of Africans. Hawkins argues that Heart of Darkness represents an attack on imperialism. White men’s hearts are not turned black by Africans, they already carry the corruption of Europe within them. When we examine the way in which Europeans are portrayed in the novel they can hardly be seen as sympathetic. Most of the white men are greedy, violent, and barely competent. Marlow himself dreads the idea that he might be lumped in with the other “unwholesome” pilgrims. Hawkins takes pains to draw out examples where Conrad recognizes the humanity and the terrible plight of the Africans. He makes a strong argument that Conrad may be seen as racist in a modern context, but that during his time Conrad may have been a progressive thinker who criticized colonialism, and deplored the capitalist conquest that clothed dumb violence and unmitigated greed in high ideals. Hawkins brings a fair amount of historical context and biographical content to his analysis, so seems to have been influenced by the New Historicist school of thought.
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With this sentiment, his works trace the distinctive moment of this imperialist situation from the loosely administered, ad hoc arrangement in Malaya, to the intensified scramble for land in Africa, to the financial, dependencies established in South America. Profound studies of Conrad? s fiction, Heart of Darkness could be highly deemed for its complexity, contradictory notions being a tale full of paradoxes. It is a well-known fact in the Imperialist Adventure genre of literature that Conrad? s Heart of Darkness is strongly attacked as a racist text.
Joseph Conrad’s criticism of imperialism in Heart of Darkness ..
But the novella has manifold themes including pessimism, moral nihilism, and hypocrisy of imperialism that can be even used to deny this common belief. Thus my interest on these complexities in Heart of Darkness immensely increased in terms of examining to what extent we can find evidence to deny the common misinterpretation of deeming Conrad as a racist. Being a Sri Lankan, I was deeply touched when I first read Heart of Darkness because Sri Lanka too was once a victim of European colonialism; the effects of this are haunting us even today though it had come to an end.
Heart of Darkness, with Online Theory and Criticism Passcode
Imperialism in Conrads Heart of Darkness is one of the chief focal aspects of critical controversy and debate in the fields of literary theory and literary criticism.
Does he support the dehumanization of natives which is practiced by the Whites in the name of a civilizing role? The study scrupulously examines these controversial elements in the text and concludes that Conrad’s impressionistic narrative technique, incorporating a pessimistic viewpoint, along with his disillusioned emotions over what seems to be White cannibalism in the Congo, and the excessively grim nature of the novel Heart of Darkness, all serve Conrad’s antiimperialistic perspective effectively.
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The greatness lays behind his complexity of style- his impressionism. What is impressionism? A literary style characterized by the use of details and mental associations to evoke subjective and sensory impressions rather than the recreation of objective reality (The American Heritage dictionary of the English Language: 2000) Conrad? s impressionism is a controversial issue. It is, for some critics his most praiseworthy quality but for others it allows him to mask his nihilism. In Conrad? s Heart of Darkness we move into the heart of Africa through the eyes of Marlow who views the outer world within his closed onsciousness. Very descriptive pattern of writing produces a new kind of conception on self identity. Marlow? s narration is more focused on inner conscious ness than on the outward phenomenon. This new type of self- identity created by Conrad can be associated with his impressionist style. In The Political Unconscious, Fredric Jameson argues that Conrad? s stories (Lord Jim is his main example) betray a symptomatic split between a modernist „will to style? , leading to an elaborate but essentially hollow “impressionism”.