Books and Movies Reviews

Achebe vs. Conrad

In a critical essay of Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness, Chinua Achebe accuses Conrad of being a terrible racist, and points out places in the novel where Conrad is very biased and prejudiced. Based on Achebe's points, and my reading of the book, I have to agree with him.
Heart of Darkness is about Marlow, and his journey up the Congo river, to meet a famed man named Kurtz. Marlow receives a job as a boat captain with a Belgian company which specialises in trade in Africa. After arriving at the Central Station in Africa, he finds that his ship has been sunk, and waits several months for the parts needed to fix it. During this time his interest in Kurtz grows, and as he is rumoured to be ill, the delays in fixing the ship are made even more costly. Eventually Marlow does get the parts needed to repair the boat, and he and a crew ofPilgrims and Cannibals set out on the long and laborious journey up the Congo.
During their journey, Marlow's ship is attacked by a tribe of natives, but only one person is killed. They finally arrive to Kurtz's camp expecting to find him dead, but instead they are greeted by a crazy Russian trader, who assures them that everything is great and that Kurtz is fine. He claims that Kurtz has made him smarter, and that he can not be judged the same way a regular person would be. He sais that Kurtz has made himself a god to the natives, and has gone on murderous raids in search of Ivory. The large number of severed heads around Kurtz's cabin prove to Marlow of Kurtz's methods. Then a bunch of natives carry Kurtz out of his cabin on a stretcher, and a group of natives surround the camp. Kurtz speaks to them and they leave.
Kurtz is carried on to the ship because of his illness. The Russian tells Marlow after swearing him to secrecy that Kurtz is planning an attack on the ship so as to convince the Company that he is dead. The Russian then flees in a canoe, fearing Kur…


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