Review on the Novel “The Heart of Darkness” by Joseph Conrad

January 12, 2021 by Essay Writer

As every ambitious nation, one of their main goals to achieve is to expand their territories in foreign countries, specially countries with resources to contribute with and innocent people that could be dominated easily. The act of imperialism refers to take control over other´s government, system, influence or authority by its country power or by military force. The Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad talks about the imperialism lived in Belgian, Congo by the Europeans, his main characters are Marlowe and Kurtz.

It starts narrating about a piece of life lived by Marlowe as a kind of sailor, he accepts a new job as a navigator to a place which he always wanted to know because of its shape on the maps, as he was getting closer to their destiny he realized their purposes, that was to take control over that specific part of Belgian, Congo in Africa. When he arrived at the territory he observed the conditions in which it was. “A group of men, mostly naked blacks, moved like ants” (The Heart of Darkness p. 24) with this line we could infer that Europeans were conquering the land because of their possibility to use the Africans as slaves for their own profit using their workforce, Marlowe mentions some activities they were doing, hinting that they were being exploited. In those times the continent´s population was vulnerable because of their few knowledges all over the world. It could be assumed that the objective of the vessel in the “vapor” was to be able to conquer more territory in the shortest time possible. “since strength is nothing but a chance born of the weakness of others” (The Heart of Darkness p. 9) It was easy for Europeans to posses’ higher authority over the natives because of their intelligence developed before set sail, a white man well-dressed imposing rules was enough to take control over them.“An evil guy who takes the ivory from the natives” (The Heart of Darkness p. 53) This means that a main natural resource in abundance in their land was the ivory, Europeans used to apply hard methods in order to get the biggest amount of the material possible and have more benefit, all the natives were bound to work for them no matter of the health consequences that may have. “A group of men, mostly naked blacks, moved like ants” (The Heart of Darkness p. 24)

Another example mentioned in the reading is how the Europeans referred to Africans, they were seen just as a tool for working roughly day and night, for them all were equally without distinction; if they were black, they could use them.Before starting conquering Belgian, Congo Europeans ensured to have well prepared intelligent people for creating new strategies for conquering “and if he works as the director’s secretary, it was because no intelligent man can absurdly reject the trust placed in him by his superiors” (The Heart of Darkness p. 46) Kurtz was that man, the one with enough authority and knowledge deserved to be admire, mostly by Marlow, he longed to know him. “The approach to that Kurtz that extricated the ivory from that damn jungle was surrounded by as many dangers as the visit of an enchanted princess” (The Heart of Darkness p. 68) He dominated over everything, what he said was done, but a disadvantage they had was the acknowledge of the country, they didn´t know which dangers the land would have, they should be careful, but just as they must take the risk to get what they wanted and more. Marlow always idolized Kurtz “The important thing was that he was a creature of great gifts, and among them, the one that stood out, the one that gave the sensation of a real presence, was his ability to speak, his words, his oratory skills, his power to enchant, to illuminate, to exalt, its pulsating stream of light, or that false flow that emerged from the heart of impenetrable darkness.” (The Heart of Darkness p. 74) Marlow tries to transmit their feelings about Kurtz, even if he didn’t know how to read, he was considered as a hero of the Belgian Congo conquered, he helped in part to reach European dream by seize other´s lands, authority and liberty.

One of the most sadness part of the book was the physical difficulties Kurtz ‘started to have “Mr. Kurtz … he, dead” (The Heart of Darkness p. 110) His character represented an empowered being with the ability to change ideologies and always achieve what he proposed, never mentioning that he was a person in favor of torturing men or making them suffer, however he fulfilled the purposes that his nationality established even when they were not the most correct. His determination, his nature, his principles, his knowledge make him an admirable human being.

The sensibility of Marlow is shown at the end of the book after he came back home, and he tries to tell what happened “The last word he pronounced was your name” (The Heart of Darkness p. 120) even if he was lying, he finished by making her soul rest for such a significant phrase. On my point of view, imperialism and colonialism are an abuse of power from others that believe that are superior or with higher authority than others, people by nature is ambitious, but as we want to have more and more, we need to be aware of others, especially the ones that are weaker. Society need to instead of harming each other by wars and invasions, help others to be great and develop. Or in case it was necessary to conquer other lands, there must be other pacific methods that could be applied to get what is fair for both sizes. The ideologies of our ancestors must be changed for better changes on the descendant race, violence against others isn’t the solution for our problems, in my opinion violence is an excuse for cowards. I liked the book because of Marlow´s attitude, he never surrendered, he looked out for his goals and he always tried to accomplish them. The enthusiasm he shows at the beginning when he receives the opportunity taught me that in some way that; what is destine for you, it will be. And of course, the relationship with Kurtz, even if he didn’t know him he expected the best of him, and he does what he could do to prove that he was worthy.

Also, I didn’t like the book, because in general in don´t like does times where they try to solve their problems trough violence and abusing from others, the way Europeans feel like they are over everyone and can take control over everything it doesn’t seem fair to me. I didn’t like the idea of using others for your own advantage, it is degrading how they referred to the native people. This book made me have another perspective of the environment in some parts of the world that were living. I also admire Conrad because of his great writing and the way the book makes you feel as if you were living in those times. It was a new type of reading for me because of the historical facts in an interesting plot, but surely, I would read more books like this.

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