Imperialism- Conrad's Heart of Darkness Essay

1185 Words Apr 22nd, 2008 5 Pages
Imperialism and its oppressive processes have affected societies as well as individual lives for centuries. In Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, oppression through imperialism demonstrates how a certain civilization, the Congolese, is affected negatively by imperialism. By focusing on Africa, it allows for a graphic recount of the many years spent reigned by foreign oppressors and tyrannies. In Heart of Darkness, the Congo is oppressed by the imperialists economically and geographically. As well, the oppressed people are taken advantage of spiritually. Conrad describes how the ruling tyrant is affected by the process of conquering a local people and this draws a parallel to the ruling empire. Conrad, through his novel, attempts to …show more content…
They are forced to convert themselves from ‘savages’ to the British civilized way of life. The spiritual degradation is demonstrated through this transformation because they are forced to accept that their way of life is wrong. The unjust imposition takes a toll on the Congolese. When an outside nation invades and forces a people to accept their beliefs, they are spiritually destroyed. They are looked down upon and those who feel they are superior treat them with little respect, devastating their spirit. Imperialism is also evident in this book as Conrad gives detail of individual characters’ experiences. One could draw a parallel between Kurtz oppressing his fellow colleagues and the overall situation of Britain oppressing the Congo. The intentions of each oppressing party are initially good when entering the Congo. Kurtz had believed that the ivory station would introduce a better, more civilized way of life to the Congolese. Kurtz was selected by Marlow to encounter on this journey because he had heard from the accountant that he was, “a remarkable person,” as well as a “prodigy.” (Conrad 68, 69). Kurtz was looked at as someone with a lot of promise and he earned control of the men joining him on his journey through admiration but more so, fear. The admiration for Kurtz came from the men’s knowledge of his many accomplishments and what he represented, but their respect for him also came from their

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