Heart of Darkness Imperialism, Hegemony, and Othering

Topics: Culture, The White Man's Burden, George Orwell Pages: 4 (1580 words) Published: November 6, 2011
Narrative of Thought
I remember when I first read Heart of Darkness. I was a sophomore in high school when I had been required to read it. I remember when I got it. I thought to myself that it might be a cool book. I read the first five pages and wanted to throw it the window. It was confusing, frustrating and a little weird. Eventually I did read it. The more I read the more it made sense. When I finished it, I was still a little confused, but I understood it better. I would not say that the exact word "imperialism" came to my mind when I thought about Heart of Darkness. Granted back then I did not really understand the word imperialism. I did know that I was repulsed by what the Europeans were really doing in the Congo. I just did not associate it with the actual word of imperialism. I just knew what was going on was inhumane.  Imperialism in Heart of Darkness was rather intense. There were many times when I questioned the main character’s, (Marlow’s), ethics. At one point in the book, he sees the African slaves in the Congo and comments rather distastefully on them. He comments about an African boy who he describes has having " sunken eyes...enormous and vacant" Marlow says, "The man seemed young – almost a boy – but you know with them it’s hard to tell." He then further describes two Africans sitting at a tree. "Near the same tree two more bundles of acute angles sat with their legs drawn up..." (Conrad 156). Marlow then watches aghast, as one of the Africans gets up and crawls to the river to get a drink. As the African does this marrow refers to him as " one of these creatures"(157). This shows examples of how mistreated the Africans were. It shows the true consequences of imperialism. The Africans were underfed, overworked, given little care and medical attention need. As Marlow sees them, he does not see them as poor unfortunate souls. He sees them as creatures, inhuman, unearthly. Throughout the novel, Marlow never once gives the Africans human...
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