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Colonialism And Imperialism In Joseph Conrad’s Heart Of Darkness

Throughout history, many individuals and or communities have experienced marginalization. These individuals and or communities have been oppressed not in just one part of the world, but many different parts of the world. Oppression can vary from colonialism and imperialism to marginalization. Even though, colonialism and imperialism go hand in hand they are different. Colonialism is when one nation rules over another and exploits the resources to benefit the ruling nation. Imperialism refers to the practice of where a nation extends their power by politically or economically taking control. While the marginalization’s of minorities was unavoidable given the idea of modernization, these minorities re-asserted their self-worth to overcome oppression.
Colonialism and imperialism was at its peak during the late nineteenth century. During this time, the African continent was partitioned by different European nations. In Heart of Darkness, author Joseph Conrad, explores this nature of colonial imperialism in African country, Congo. European nations were going to these African countries to “civilize” the natives of that continent. The European nations viewed the people of Congo as “savages.” “We were wanderers on a prehistoric earth, on an earth that wore the aspect of an unknown planet” (Conrad). This description from Conrad gives us the impression that the people of Congo were “prehistoric” and did not develop a sense of civilization. However, the Europeans were in Africa for the exploitation of resources. To the Europeans in Congo, “progress” meant the exploitation of the natives. Through the means of cruelty and treachery and violence, the Europeans took advantage of the innocent natives. Violence instilled fear in the natives and …

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…reate this kind of condition, which can only be done through Swaraj.
Conclusively, the oppression of the minorities described by Conrad, Orwell, Eksteins, Kovaly, and Gandhi were all inevitable. From colonial imperialism to World War I, the ideas of progress caused the unavoidable oppression of the weaker groups. Whether the motive of the oppressor is exploitation of resources, imperial rule of a country, or liberation from old orders, the oppressors were definitely on track to dominate the inferior. The emergence of technologies, scientism, or social organization did not stop the oppressed from being oppressed. However, many minorities did re-assert or attempt to re-assert their self-worth. Some went to war to be liberated from old ideas, while others tried to peacefully overcome the rule of British. Therefore oppression was inevitable, and some did overcome it.

Exploring Characters and Subliminal Undertones in Conrad’s Heart of Darkness

There are three main topics to discuss when it comes to analyzing Conrad’s Heart of Darkness – symbolic interpretations, character development and language. Heart of Darkness has an abundance of almost subliminal undertones. This novella is written to such precision and high detail that almost every paragraph has a significant part to play in the overall plot. The author, Conrad, concentrates on creating a story to illustrate ideas and themes, rather than just a simple narrative. These ideas and themes are constantly pitched at the reader in a very intense and unrelenting manner, which makes them all the more powerful. Therefore, even a passage of just five pages can have a remarkable amount of detail to discuss.

As it happens, pages 54-59 are some of the least symbolic in the entire novel. Nevertheless, it still contains some important points to note. The theme first introduced on page 34, about the two types of devil,’ is enforced here by the descriptions of the manager and his uncle, who are both clearly “flabby, pretending, weak-eyed devil[s] of a rapacious and pitiless folly.• Neither of them would be particularly keen to take direct action against Kurtz; they would much prefer a less involved way of removing him from their worries. This is shown by their deliberate failure to get a doctor to Kurtz, as well as their personalities generally.

Their is another possible reference to devils and their religious connotations on page 54, when Marlow describes the arrival of the Eldorado Exploring Expedition as “a visitation.• This word can have two meanings: A formal visit or inspection, which is the initial interpretation one could make of Marlow’s (or Conrad’s) use of the word; however, it…

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…e, two phrases are used to make the atmosphere more ominous and foreboding. First of all, Marlow talks of the jungle, referring to the “darkness of its heart.• The passage then ends with “the sun was low,• a particularly downbeat ending, followed by the slightly ghostly description of the manager and his uncle’s shadows failing to bend a single blade of grass.

All of these techniques are used to give the attentive reader a multi-layered and intriguing story. This particular passage also asks lots of questions without answering any others, urging the reader to continue delving into the story. At first glance, one might think that little happens in this passage – after all, most of it is taken up by a single conversation – but, upon closer examination, one can gain a great deal of knowledge about the characters and the deeper undertones to the novel.

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