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Joseph Conrads Heart of Darkness Which social groups are marginalized, excluded or silenced within the text - Essay Example

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Joseph Conrad’s book, ‘Heart of Darkness’ portrays Africa as a place that is uncivilised and filled with barbarous inhabitants. Both African natives, and, to some extent, women, are the social groups that are silenced or marginalised in the book…
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Joseph Conrads Heart of Darkness Which social groups are marginalized, excluded or silenced within the text
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Download file to see previous pages Africa, as portrayed in this book, is the direct opposite of the civilised continent of Europe where civilised human beings live. In writing his book, Conrad makes use of Marlow’s character to give voice to his own feelings about the inhabitants of the Congo. He compares the civilisation of Europe to the ‘uncivilised’ existences of the Congo’s inhabitants and shows Marlow moving into an oasis known as the ‘Outer Station’ to lend further meaning to this subject. The Outer Station is situated in the coast of Africa, and is administered by white Europeans who force African natives to perform most of the drudgery connected with running the outfit. Once Marlow reaches the oasis’ shores, he glimpses the darkness in the atmosphere of the place as well as in its inhabitants. The African natives whom Marlow encounters are depicted as sub-humans or animals. They are marginalised by the author in that they are not given a chance to explain their predicament. Nor are their feelings on being forcibly pushed to work away from their homes expounded upon. Rather than seeking to invoke pity for the wretched creatures that have been turned into slaves, the author strives to provoke apathy in the reader by stating that the natives ‘sat near the same tree in acute angles. ...
In essence, the writer succeeds in changing Africans into irrelevant entities in such a way that the reader learns to adopt the position of the writer in ignoring the fact that they are human beings. In places in the novel where the derogatory names are not being used, there is a patronising tone used by the colonialists towards the natives. The author appears to try and convince the reader of the stupidity or idiocy of Africans in asserting through his European characters that the Africans had to have simple concepts explained to them in very childish ways, such as an analogy of the boiler tender, to understand matters such as the European work ethic. Naturally, the author neglects to mention that Africans worked in their own plots of land and fully understood what work was even before the White man reached their shores. The author also neglected to mention that the Africans may have been reluctant to work for the White man because they were being forced to do it for hardly any real wages. All through the book, the African natives are identified as savages. This is done without explaining to the reader what would make an entire ethnic group savages; apart from the refusal to work when they are told, as they are told, in their colonial masters’ lands- which had been stolen from the natives. In truth, it is the white people in the book who proved to have even more qualities of savagery than they accused the African natives off. To further encourage the perception of African natives as semi-human creatures, the colonial masters would often fire their rifles into the jungle for no apparent purpose. The reader is also informed that the natives had revolting customs ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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