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The Heart of Darkness - Essay Example

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Name Professor Subject Date New Imperialism in The Heart of Darkness Heart of Darkness, is a story of Charlie Marlow, a young man who wants to make a journey, and sets off for the Congo River. He hears about a man named Kurtz who was at that time in the jungle-wilderness of interior Congo…
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The Heart of Darkness
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Download file to see previous pages As he travelled from the Outer Station to the Central Station and then up the river to the Inner Station, he saw torture, cruelty, and near-slavery. The men who work for the Company, saying that what they were doing as “trade,” and their behavior towards native Africans as part of the civilizing process, were making those "ignorant African people" stop their horrid, barbaric ways. Kurtz is the symbol of European imperialism in the story. His vicious honesty led him to his end, as the evil practices of Europeans in Africa were in danger of exposure through his accomplishment. He is did not hide the fact that he took ivory by force and treated the natives with violence and intimidation. He represented imperialism in its entirety in Africa. Kurtz’s greed for ivory represented Europe’s desire for the whole world. This greed made him the animal that Marlow found. Kurtz is imperialism and his life in the Congo represented imperialism and the eventual destruction European imperialism itself. On page 14 of Part 3, Conrad described Kurt as the imperialist he had been. “I thought his memory was like the other memories of the dead that accumulate in every man’s life—a vague impress on the brain of shadows that had fallen on it in their swift and final passage; but before the high and ponderous door, between the tall houses of a street as still and decorous as a well-kept alley in a cemetery, I had a vision of him on the stretcher, opening his mouth voraciously, as if to devour all the earth with all its mankind. He lived then before me; he lived as much as he had ever lived—a shadow insatiable of splendid appearances, of frightful realities; a shadow darker than the shadow of the night, and draped nobly in the folds of a gorgeous eloquence”. The vision of Kurt in the stretcher opening his mouth voraciously as if to devour all the earth and all its mankind signified the torture, cruelty, intimidation, violence and insatiable greed that come with the process of “civilizing” the natives by imperialists, the ultimate goal of having the world in their hands. In this sense, Kurtz's personality was a symbol of the imperial goal of Europe. There is a striking similarity between the history book King Leopold's Ghost, by Adam Hochschild and Conrad’s the Heart of Darkness. It seems that Leon Rom of the Force Republique was the equivalent of Kurtz character. The collection of African heads surrounding Kurtz's house, and Rom’s collections, represent the villainy of both characters. Adam Hochschild, in his book said the following: The 'Inner Station' of Heart of Darkness, the place Marlow looks at through his binoculars only to find Kurtz's collection of the shrunken heads of African 'rebels,' is loosely based on Stanley Falls. In 1895, five years after Conrad visited this post, Leon Rom was station chief there. A British explorer-journalist who passed through Stanley Falls that year described the aftermath of a punitive military expedition against some African rebels: 'Many women and children were taken, and twenty-one heads were brought to the falls, and have been used by Captain Rom as a decoration round a flower-bed in front of his house! If Conrad missed this account, which appeared in the widely read Century Magazine, he almost certainly noticed when The Saturday Review, a magazine he admired and read faithfully, ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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