How does Conrad provide a critique on European colonisation in his novella?
Heart of Darkness is a novella written by Joseph Conrad regarding the imperialism that occurred in Africa, specifically the Congo area. Conrad uses the protagonist, Marlow to show the truth of the colonisation occurring in Congo. Marlow, a curious sailor who is fascinated by Africa received a job from a European trading company and sets off on a journey to the Congo believing the illusion that Europeans had good intentions of imperialism. As Marlow’s journey progresses, he is slowly exposed to the “colonisation” in action.
When Marlow first approached the land, he saw “six black men advanced in a file, toiling up the path ... the clink kept time with their footsteps ...” “Black rags ... round their loins, and the short ends behind waggled to and fro like tails ... rhythmically clinking.” Conrad creates an unusual image with the repetition of “clinking” and the use of simile “waggled to and fro like tails” which suggest that the Europeans feel that they are more superior to the natives therefore forcing slavery upon the natives for the benefit of the company. Furthermore, in the European’s perspective the natives are not only less superior they are dehumanised and merely see them as animals with “tails” or objects. This outlines the hypocritical side of the Europeans as they aim to “colonise” the country.
Marlow becomes obsessed with meeting a man named Kurtz who works for the company. Kurtz work to harvest ivory at the Outer Station however also aims to bring European civilisation to the natives who were considered as savages. However as Marlow progresses through the river, his illusion of the Europeans good intentions were slowly being demolished by the cruelty done to the natives by the European men.
As Marlow travel up the Congo River to search for Kurtz, “white fog ... lifted as a shutter lifts” holds them up as they cannot see anything. This symbolises the truth of the...