Is Chinua Achebe Correct in Asserting That Heart of Darkness Is Essentially a Racist Novel Essay

Chinua Achebe’s’ expresses his position on Heart of Darkness as an basically racist novel and he is right in stating this. His essay focuses chiefly on the portraiture of the Congo as an ‘other world’ in which Conrad describes it to be an antithesis of Europe and the European criterions and overall of civilization as a whole. The racism presented by Conrad in the novel is apparent through his use of position and dehumanization of the native Africans as discussed in Achebe’s essay.Joseph Conrad manipulates the position of the reader and the attitude they have towards the indigens and Europeans likewise through the bestowment of human look to Europeans and the withholding of it from the Africans. as Achebe explains. When comparing the description of the two adult females.

the African adult female and European adult female. the reader is able to picture a elusive yet definite difference in the manner each woman’s look is characterised. The African adult female. who is seen to be as a kept woman to Mr Kurtz. is illustrated as a really cryptic figure ‘’with an air of dwelling over an cryptic purpose’’ doing her character unidentifiable.Whereas the European adult female is talked about more clearly and the reader can easy recognize her character because she is given emotions and feeling. ‘’she had a mature capacity for fidelity. for belief.

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for suffering’’ . In Conrad characterizing each adult female in such different ways. the reader feels as though the European adult female is more relatable as opposed to the native adult female who is non expressed with feelings. This deficiency of human look in the description of the African adult female. as commented on by Achebe. created a noticeable barrier between the complexness of indigens and Europeans.For the most portion. the indigens are non given any duologue but alternatively their address is replaced with ‘’a violent babbling of coarse sounds’’ .

Achebe nevertheless. refers to two important parts of the novel when native Africans are given English duologue. These are when the man-eaters request the worlds to eat. ‘’catch ‘im. Give ‘im to us. ’’ . Equally good as the celebrated proclamation. ‘’Mistah Kurtz—he dead’’ .

When first read. the reader thinks of these as high points for the indigens because they appear to be at the same degree as the Europeans in footings of acquiring duologue ithin the novel. Chinua Achebe opposes this by saying that in world they constitute some of his best assaults as these illustrations of duologue in fact degrade the indigens. This changes the reader’s position into assume that through the usage of oinks and incoherent address they are inferior and inarticulate in comparing to the linguistic communication used by the Europeans. This difference in sum and quality of duologue between the Africans and colonizing Europeans contributes to doing Heart of Darkness an basically a racialist novel.The novel reveals the Africans being reduced to metaphorical sweep of unsafe and dark jungle of animate beings into which the European colonists venture. Chinua Achebe is right in knocking Heart of Darkness as a racialist novel.

this is seen peculiarly through Conrad’s dehumanization of the Congolese indigens. Throughout the fresh Conrad’s descriptions of the indigens are used to make the thought of barbarian. barbarian being whom can non be of the same criterions as the Europeans. Conrad’s most effectual manner of dehumanizing the African people is through his usage of imagination. ‘’a commotion of black limbs. as mass of hands’’ .This does non give the feeling that these are human existences but alternatively that they are merely parts of worlds.

hence doing them seem uncomplete and inferior in comparing the manner Europeans are described. This imagination is besides of import when Conrad describes native workers as ‘’decaying machinery’’ . this creates the image that the Congolese are non valued as worlds. as Europeans are. but instead as disposable articles who can easy be replaced after they have done their work. The linguistic communication picks in which Conrad has made besides have a great impact on the manner the indigens are perceived.

By utilizing phrases such as ‘’the beaten nigger groaned somewhere’’ . the Congolese indigens are referred to in a really barbarian mode. A manner in which no European would of all time be described leads the reader to believe that the Africans are in fact inferior to the Europeans. doing them less of a human. These descriptions make it apparent that Conrad’s composing affecting the indigens made them look beast-like and barbarian hence dehumanizing them in a manner that can merely be seen as racialist.Although these racial word pictures may non be used to knowingly dehumanise and exteriorize the Congolese people. Chinua Achebe justly criticises Heart of Darkness as a racialist novel.

The changeless comparing between the two civilizations. African and European. are merely explained as one being civilised whereas the other is portrayed as barbarian. The ineluctable world that Conrad’s descriptions of the indigens were accurate looks of the European position justifies Achebe’s averment that Heart of Darkness is basically a racialist novel.


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