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PAPER_2_Heart_of_Darkenss_Final_Draft - Alexander Muhr...

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Alexander Muhr HIST-104 Ian Livie November 21, 2005 JOSEPH CONRAD as a DETRACTOR of IMPERIALISM Joseph Conrad, the author of Heart of Darkness , is one of the preeminent writers of the late 19 th and early 20 th century. His insight in to topics varying from racism, the human soul and most importantly, imperialism, makes Conrad one of the most comprehensive critics of Europe. Imperialism was one of his main topics because of the European conquest of Africa in the mid 19 th century, specifically the Congo. European countries, such as France, England and Belgium were practically in a “mad rush” for acquiring land on the African continent. The imperialist countries were exploiting the land’s natural resources, the natives, and also the animals that were indigenous to the area such as elephants for their ivory. The Europeans that were wither sent to the continent or went there willingly to claim fortunes did not venture much further inland from the coast, except for using rivers to access trade points. In Heart of Darkness , the narrator is telling us the tale of Marlow and his literal search into the heart of “darkness” to find a “lost” man named Kurtz. Conrad uses this journey to emphasize the effect, which the continent has on its European “intruders,” and that they are suffering the consequences of their imperialist action. Therefore we can assume that Conrad is not an adamant supporter of the imperialist movement in to Africa or any other region in the world by European countries to exploit not only the land but also the inhabitants. At the beginning of the novel, Marlow is sitting on a boat in the river Thames at the port of London. The men on the ship are discussing the history of London and how it 1
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came to be, mainly conquered by the Romans to become a vital city. Marlow is recounting his story and realizes that London “has been one of the dark places of the earth.” (Conrad 67) He is referring to the fact that London, before the Romans conquered it, had been uncharted and mysterious as the African continent was looking to the Europeans in the 19 th century. There were woods, and marshes that hindered travel and “barbarians” roaming the land, which were the Celtic tribes. They remind Marlow of the
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