Books and Movies Reviews

Heart of Darkness

Upon close examination of Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness, one is forced to consider the prevalent themes that arise through Conrad's words.Many of the themes found in the novella are issues that were relevant during Conrad's time.Heart of Darkness is a social commentary on some of these pressing issues of his day.One of the most striking characters in the novella, Mr. Kurtz, cries, as he lays dying, "The horror! The horror!" (Conrad 86).Kurtz is declaring how horrific the different aspects of his life corrupt and distort men.Some of these horrific elements found are: imperialism and colonization, racism and slavery, and the insatiable desire for money and power that often rules men's lives and corrupts their souls.All of these elements have disturbed Kurtz while he has resided in the Congo jungle and as he is about to pass from this life to the next, he releases his suppressed feelings through the strange words, "The horror!The horror!" (Page 86).
Thefirst issue that horrifies Kurtz and that is discussed by Conrad is the subject of colonization or imperialism.Imperialism could be defined as a systematic oppression using abhorrent violence.In simpler terms, the world's powers conquer an "uncivilized" land, force its inhabitants into slavery, and corrupt the land forever.Conrad himself was subject to the evils of colonization.As a child, he, along with his parents, was victims to the Russian colonialistic policies towards Poland.In Heart of Darkness, he is specifically condemning the colonialization practices of Belgium, but is criticizing the practice in general as well.In his essay, "The Colonialistic Bias of Heart of Darkness," Frances B. Singh refers to colonialization as a "sordid exploitation of the natives, and suggests that the real darkness…is not in the breasts of the black Africans but in all whites who countenance and en…


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