Get help from the best in academic writing.

Supremacist Ideologies in Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness

Supremacist Ideologies in Heart of Darkness

Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness colludes with the ethnocentric attitude of Europeans towards the native people of Africa. At the turn of the century, European imperialism was viewed as “a crusade worthy of this century of progress” by King Leopold of Belgium. Although Conrad was critical of imperialism, his novella reveals to the reader an undeniable Victorian provenance. It endorses cultural myths of the period and reinforces the dominant ideology of the British gentleman. Its Victorian provenance is revealed in the representation of race, which is constructed through the character Marlow. His powerful narrative viewpoint reinforces what Chinua Achebe called Europe’s “comforting myths” about Africa and Africans.

The text consistently constructs black people as ‘other’. This is achieved primarily by Marlow, who acts to construct the natives from the vantage point of the British gentleman. When he “looked at them”, he searched not only for their “impulses, motives, capacities” but also for restraint, a value that he champions throughout the retelling of his story. When he can’t find it, he remarks “Restraint? What possible restraint?” Marlow’s first encounter with the natives is at the Outer Station, where his ambivalence towards them is foregrounded by his obsession with the miraculously efficient first-class agent. The natives are effectively dehumanised because they are presented as nothing more than “black shadows” and “acute angles”; and Marlow is far more interested in the fact that the accountant kept his books in “apple-pie order” than with the dying black men outside. Similarly, when Marlow stumbles across “a middle-aged negro, with a bullet-hole in the…

… middle of paper …

…t inexorably associates the continent and its people with darkness. We have the natives described as “black shapes”, “strings of dusty niggers” and “a whirl of black limbs”. This imagery also often associates Africans with supernatural evil. Near the Inner Station:

“A black figure stood up, strode on long black legs, waving long black arms, across the glow. It had horns… some sorcerer, some witch-man, no doubt; it looked fiend-like enough”

The African landscape is not only culpable for Kurtz’s wrongs, but it is also a place of darkness and of evil, a place of paganism, with “the throb of drums, the drone of weird incantations”; a place of “lurking death”, cannibalism, disease and insanity – all of Marlow’s reality is filtered through the European consciousness, and all of his narrative serves to endorse European supremacist ideologies.

The Selfish Linda Loman in Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman

The Selfish Linda Loman in Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman

Linda, a character from Arthur Miller’s “Death of a Salesman” is a selfish housewife. She pretends to care about her husband, but in reality, prefers that he kill himself so that she can live an easier life.

Linda is given nothing but motive for wanting her husband, Willy, to die because of the ways he mistreats her. For example, during a family conversation in Act I, Linda, trying to put in a few words, says, “Maybe things are beginning to change-,” with Willy coming in right after her, “(wildly enthused, to Linda)Stop interrupting!…”(1187) Linda, trying desperately to be a part of the conversation, is constantly denied her voice. Always under Willy’s control, Linda is treated as if she is allowed to speak when he gives her permission. In another conversation in Act I between Biff, Happy, and Linda, more evidence of Willy mistreating Linda is provided:

“Linda: It seems there’s a woman…(She takes a breath as-)

Biff: (sharply but contained) What woman?

Linda: (simultaneously) …and this woman…

Linda: What?

Biff: Nothing. I just said what woman.”(1184)

During this conversation, Linda is introducing the idea to Biff and Happy that Willy’s car accidents might not have been accidents. She is telling of a woman that was a witness to the wreck, but a twist comes into the conversation. It seems that Biff is quick on making an assumption about who the woman is, and Linda shows a suspicious tone to Biff’s reply. This time implies that Linda is aware that Willy is unfaithful to her, providing another way he mistreats her. In Guerin Bliquez’s essay over “Death of a Salesman”, she states, “But betrayal exposes the basic dishonesty of th…

… middle of paper …

…was helpful. She had a job of destruction and definitely helped Willy with his troubles. Helped him so much that eventually he committed suicide. Now she has the ability to say she married a successful man, maybe dead, but successful.

Works Cited:

Bliquez, Guerin. “Linda’s Role in ‘Death of a Salesman’,” in Modern Drama, Vol. 10, No. 4, February, 1968, pp. 383-86. RPTD in Drama Criticism, Vol. 1. Gale Research Inc.. 1991. 322.

Dillingham, Wiliam B.. “Arthur Miller and the Loss of Conscience” in Arthur Miller, Death of a Salesman. Penguin Group. 1967. 344.

Miller, Arthur. “Death of a Salesman” in Literature, Reading, Reacting, Writing, Compact Fourth Edition. Harcourt, Inc.. 2000. 1187, 1184, 1221, 1229,

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.