View Full Version : racism

10-01-2006, 04:59 AM
Hello I'm doing an essay on different opinions of the book (is it racist or not, ect.) so if someone could tell me some quotes they think are racist in the book that would really help a lot.

10-02-2006, 01:03 PM
"Heart of Darkness" isn't so much racist in the traditional sense (i.e. one race having an inherent superiority over another) but there is a momentous amount of racial material there.

The indigenous peoples who are being run over, taken advantage of, and generally trounced are at times portrayed as something close to heroic. The "white" souls of the black oppressed and the "dark" or "black" souls of the white oppressors is a theme that runs throughout the work, if I remember correctly. One of the first uses of colour symbolism in this regard occurs when Marlowe enters the shady grove, wherein starving and emaciated blacks are wasting away. One of them has a bright white piece of jewelry (or something called "worster"? (can't remember) that contrasts with his darker skin.

The cannibals which accompany Marlowe on his steamer are later given a higher regard than the pilgrims doing the same.

I think that the racial issues are sort of products of the larger issue, i.e. the corruption of man and man's own inhumanity to man. The greedy, heartless, oppresive, ambitious, "evil" white men are contrasted to the desolate and more natural black men.

The racial aspects are mere incidental ways to illustrate the larger theme, in my opinion.

10-15-2006, 07:50 AM
It's anti-racist. Conrad was disgusted by the treatment of the indigenous Congo people who were being exploited by a brutal Belgian Empire. But it is not a simple treatise on race but rather a subtle examination of how people handed absolute power can become warped, twisted and inhuman. It's more to do with a dark place in the human heart than a simple journey into 'darkest Africa'. The film 'Apocalypse Now' mirrors the journey but in a modern setting. Brando's part being a modern version of Kurtz.

12-16-2006, 12:08 PM
i think it's a good idea if u take a look at what Chinua Achebe and Edward Said have said about the novel.

12-16-2006, 08:59 PM
Chinua achebe can't read. He can, however, write.

12-16-2006, 09:25 PM
The strength of Conrad's book is its truth-telling, acurately reflecting the views of Euopeans about Africa at the time, and perhaps today. It is several years since I read Heart of Darkness, and I don't remember it well, except that it was a tough read because of the way it represented the Africans. For the same reason, Mark Twains' Huckleberry Finn is a good book. But if it is in a classroom, there needs to be some real teaching to give students a way to handle the pervasive "n" word. It has to be seen in the context of the pre civil war time it was set in. This is not an easy task. For an African view of colonialism try the Senegalese writer and film director's "Gods Bits of Wood" by Sembene Ousmane. It is an outstanding story of African rail workers and their strike against the French owned railroad in French West Africa after WWII. He is a story teller. Dosen't quite answer your question, but definitly a clear picture of Africa.

12-16-2006, 09:33 PM
Gee it's a word. Some people call themselves Nigger. Me, I'm a teuchter. It is a badge. Let's not get diverted.