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Cultural Rape in Heart of Darkness and The Jewel in the Crown

Cultural Rape in Heart of Darkness and The Jewel in the Crown

The comparison of Heart of Darkness and The Jewel in the Crown may lead to some interesting questions. The authors of these two great works have found their way into the literary cannon for well-founded reasons. Both texts seem to continue to bring the reader to ask questions of both the text and the readers own moral values. One of these value based questions deals with racism. It may well be that both of these great works may be examples of racism being subjected upon the people of two separate continents. Both of these situations may be compared to not the rape of a woman, but the rape of a people and their ideologies.

As Paul Scott wrote The Jewel in the Crown his story seems to tell a tale of an English woman in India who had been raped. On the surface of course this is the story meant for the reader to find. However, underlying the issue of rape there may be another story. Scott writes, “This is the story of a rape, of the events that led up to it and followed it and of the place in which it happened. There are the action, the people, and the place” (Scott 3). This single statement may have more truth within it about the author’s intent in his story. When Scott writes that with his story is that of a rape we must ask of whom?

The written character that is raped is Daphne Manners. Her original home is Britain. The same country that has colonized India becomes an important issue in the story. It is important to see that Scott describes the fact that, “Mr. Gandhi began preaching sedition in India” at the same time he introduces the rape theme (Scott 3). Scott is hinting to the reader his real intention behind his story. Gandhi’s act of sedation was one wrapped in hopes of attaining equality and freedom from Britain for his people. Britain had control of his land and its people.

Scott is not the only author aware of racial inequality in Britain’s colonization of foreign continents. Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness is also a complaint of racial inequality concerning Britain’s colonization. His is a complaint of the control of certain parts of Africa.

lighthod Dark Heart of England Exposed in Conrad’s Heart of Darkness

The Dark Heart of England Exposed in Heart of Darkness

Joseph Conrad’s novel, “Heart of Darkness”, depicts events in his personal life and how he came to believe that the European invasion of the African Congo needed to end. Joseph Conrad had a boyhood fascination of maps and the blank spaces on the African continent. Therefore, when the opportunity was given to him to become the captain of a small steamship on the Congo River, he jumped at the chance. In addition to Conrad’s sense of adventure, he also had a curiosity of King Leopold’s actions in the Belgium Congo and had a strong desire to witness firsthand the action taking place. After learning his assigned ship was undergoing repairs, he accompanied another crew on passenger ship assigned to bring back an ailing company agent, George Klein, who later died on the return trip. These events provided the backdrop so to speak of Conrad’s novel, Heart of Darkness. The character of “Kurtz” was modeled after the company agent, George Klein. Although, Conrad never names the Congo or other significant landmarks, he later admits the book a “snapshot’ of his trip in the African Congo. (Longman p2189).

Heart of Darkness is written in the narrative frame and Conrad uses the character of Marlow to narrate his story of the “darkness” of the European colonialization. Marlow narrates his tell aboard a yawl to an anonymous crew. Joseph Conrad became more aware of King Leopold’s policy within the Congo, causing millions of deaths of African natives because inhumane practices. He felt he could impact readers through depicting these horrors in his novel. From this viewpoint, Conrad goes on to build his novel of the around the theme of “darkness” compared to a man’s natural wi…

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…ntiment of the time that the British were indeed helping these natives by civilizing them to British standards.

In conclusion, Joseph Conrad uses the theme of “heart of darkness” throughout his novel to portray the darkness within mankind. He describes how man has a natural aspiration for superiority and control. Conrad deliberately leaves the locations unnamed in an effort to show that the “heart of this darkness” can shift on its axis. (Longman p2189) As Marlow indicates, the journey up river has been a reverse journey as well, a journey back from Africa to the darkness that lies at the heart of an England that claims to be civilizing those whom it is merely conquering. (Longman p2189)

Works Cited

Damrosch, David, et al., ed. The Longman Anthology of British Literature: Vol. B. Compact ed. New York: Longman – Addison Wesley Longman, 2000.

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