“Heart of Darkness” by Conrad as One of the Best 100 Books
Heart of Darkness, one of the best 100 best books, throws the light on the fierce and brutal imperialistic run of the European over the weaker nations like Congo. It portrays the life of the weak people and their poor circumstances amid the colonized period. It stresses on the brutal realities of the life in Africa. The novel is a criticism on the aims of western colonizers who in the desire for power and riches explore and exploit the unexplored lands. This novel is an exposition of the darkness which can be defined by fidelity and solidarity only.
Conrad’s first two works were based on his experiences of Malaya, Almayer’s Folly and An Outcast of the Islands (1896). His best work came in 1897, The Nigger of the “Narcissus”, a moving story of life on board ship. He tailed it with his numerous works in the next years. Heart of Darkness is exceptional for it’s portrayal of corruption, sense of evil and for its superb tropical foundations. It is just a piece of art, extremely great and intriguing. The art lies in the portrayal of imperialistic approach i.e., unsympathetic and barbaric relationship of the weak people of Africa and European colonizers who turned into an epitome of evil because of their long stay in the Congo. The novella has many autobiographical elements and its storyteller Marlow is considered as the mouthpiece of Joseph Conrad himself: yet regardless of their much likeness they vary a bit.
The primary section of the novel is a great blend of different themes. Every one of the themes are identified with two noteworthy characters-Charles Marlow and Mr. Kurtz. The themes used as a part of the novel are: of evil, of imperialism, of absence of self-restraint, of alienation, of the exploration of darkness and theme of reality and appearance. Every one of the themes are skillfully interlaced that they deliver a masterful message, brought together example or outline; and overall cast an impact over the readers psyche.
Lights of boats moved in the fairway — an extraordinary mix of lights going up and going down. Also, more remote west on the upper reaches the place of the enormous town was as yet checked unfavorably on the sky, an agonizing anguish in daylight, an offensive glare under the stars” And this also” said Marlow suddenly, “has been one of the dark places of the earth.” (Part 1 Heart of Darkness) At the point when a truckle-bed with an ill man (some invalid agent from up-country) was placed in there, he showed a little disturbance. “The groans of this sick person” he said” Distract my attention, and without that, it is extremely difficult to guard against clerical errors in this climate.” (Part 1 Heart of Darkness).
The white men have constantly regarded the Blacks as the “other” and have constantly shown the world a theory of making the uncivilized into a civilized one. Under this explanatory theory of making the uncivilized civilized, they have controlled the sources of the colonized for their own desire of riches and power. Their cruel conduct for the colonized constantly portrayed their evil and cruel deeds. The lie of “civilized” Europeans is clear from their demonstrations of torment, cruelty, evilness and slavery incurred upon the people of Africa for the sake of educating and enlightening them. In truth, the Africans were simply toys to be used by Europeans in their demand for goods.
This act of imperialism is still in work in the contemporary world under the flag of globalization. The west is as yet colonizing our musings, culture, economy and so forth, if not specifically but rather in an indirect way. Imperialism” as defined by the Dictionary of Human Geography, is “an unequal human and territorial relationship, usually in the form of an empire, based on ideas of superiority and practices of dominance, and involving the extension of authority and control of one state or people over another.”(2) It is often considered in a negative light, it is mostly considered in a pessimistic light, as simply the misuse of local individuals keeping in mind the end goal, to enrich a small handful.
The Heart of Darkness is a recognized work of art of Joseph Conrad having the significant issues of world. Every one of the encounters of Marlow were Conrad’s responses to what he had seen amid his stay and journey to the Congo. White imperialism has been depicted through the different characteristics with whom Conrad came into contact. Congo was being ruled over by white men and their company, wild men and savages of Africa being their victims. I was thinking of very old times, when the Romans first came here nineteen hundred years ago….Lights came out of this river since….It is like a running blaze on a plain, like a flash of lightning in the clouds. We live in the flicker may it last as long as the old earth keeps rolling! But darkness was here yesterday.” (4)
The most important note of the theme of imperialism is given by the storyteller himself, Marlow. This thought described by Marlow at the very beginning of the novel. Marlow talked about the ancient Roman captors of Britain. In history it is written that the ancient Romans were exceptionally savage and inflicted several brutalities on the Englishmen. The Romans stolen whatever they could get in Britain. As Marlow comments the victory of Britain seemed to be “robbery with violence”. Marlow didn’t feel the victory as an emotional pretense however a thought which was un-selfish. Every one of the victors could be pardoned! A victor could be pardoned on the off chance that he played out some worthy construct work in the country which he has forcibly taken.
Marlow didn’t use the expression White Man’s Burden yet he communicated this thought indirectly and was not imposing and preaching in the novel. The white man had some commitments and obligations towards savage individuals whom he subdued mentally and physically. He thought of different strategies to rule the country. Be that as it may his intention ought not to be humanitarian but rather helped the savages on moral grounds “Hunters for gold or pursuers of fame, they all had gone out on that stream, bearing the sword, and often the torch, messengers of the might within the land, bearers of a spark from the sacred fire. What greatness had not floated on the ebb of that river into the mystery of an unknown earth”! (Conrad1.6).
Marlow’s journey and his experiences in the Congo show that the white man was not fulfilling his responsibilities carefully. The white man was cruel and wild keeping in mind his goal to steal the ivory from them. Congo which was filled with mine resources was misused and exploited by the white people keeping in mind their goal to wind up noticeably rich and imperialist. Every one of the characters of the novel were insisting on ivory over and over and the people of Congo were abused and exploited by indulging them into the exchange. Mr. Kurtz one of the protagonist of the novel was so fixated on each that he once challenged to murder the Russian man only for a little amount of ivory.
Sandbanks, marshes, forests, savages-precious little to eat fit for a civilized man, nothing but Thames water to drink. No Falernian wine here, no going ashore.” (5) “They were men enough to face the darkness.” (5) “They were dying slowly—it was very clear. They were not enemies, they were not criminals, and they were nothing earthly now-nothing but black shadows of disease and starvation….” (18) The white-men were selfish and fraud, wasting time and efforts of both their own and of people of Congo to pretend that they were constructing a better Congo. They began useless constructions without any aim of completing them. For instance, they had wanted to construct a railway scheme in Congo and the African people were compelled to work like machines. The poor Africans were moving like ants. The men were stuck with each other and were made work with no rest or overlay offered to them as a punishment. The people were experiencing sicknesses, hunger and death. The entire situation described by Marlow describes the callousness of white man over their subjects for their desire of riches and power. On the opposite side it depicts the miseries, sufferings and the tragedies encountered by the African people under imperialism.
Imperialism had its evil impacts over the colonized nations of Africa. The Europeans came from far off lands and took the lands of the natives. Right off they tricked the natives of the colonized countries for the sake of “educating” and“civilizing” them. What’s more, later abused them and took control over their natural resources. The Europeans took over nearly the entire world for their desire and greediness of tremendous riches and power. They ruled the way of life, the education, philosophy, and the political arrangement of the colonialized nations. They took the theory of White Man’s Burden over the globe for enlightening the ill-mannered and misused the locals. Their way of life, dialect, education, political set up, are as yet imperializing that of the colonized. Indeed, even following quite a while of the end of the colonization, the seeds which they have sown amid the colonized period are as yet growing out.
Conrad has not just disclosed share futility of the Belgian colonialist however at the same time reminds us about the British imperialist of his time. Around then all the African nations were not totally explored and the greater part of the nations of Asia were ruled mostly by British men. Conrad’s criticism of imperialistic gas is of great worth for both who were exploited and who the exploiters were.
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