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Is Conrad a Racist or Not?

  • Date Submitted: 03/31/2010 11:24 PM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 53.1 
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Is Conrad a Racist or not?

In the novel Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad, there have been some questions on whether or not Joseph Conrad is a racist. One person who does believe that Joseph Conrad is definitely a racist is the author of Things Fall Apart named Chinua Achebe. Chinua Achebe has written an article all about why Joseph Conrad is a racist by giving examples from Conrad’s novel. After reading Chinua Achebe’s article An Image of Africa: Racism in Conrad’s Heart of Darkness I agree that Joseph Conrad was a racist to black people.
When Joseph Conrad meets a black person for the first time, his first impression is "A certain enormous buck nigger encountered in Haiti fixed my conception of blind, furious, unreasoning rage, as manifested in the human animal to then end of my days. Of the nigger I used to dream of afterwards." Conrad is explaining that his first encounter with black people was a life changing experience for him. According to Chinua "Conrad had a problem with niggers, which is true because he explained the previous quote as a bad life changing experience. Although, the first time he had met a British man it was a different life changing experience in which he called him "my unforgettable Englishman" because Joseph had really admired him.
In the Novel Heart of Darkness Joseph Conrad also shows signs of racism through his description of the setting in which the novel takes place. Throughout the novel, the setting takes place in Africa specifically in the Congo. The way that Conrad describes Africa is as if it is looked down upon. Chinua explains Conrad’s descriptions as "the other world" which is saying that it is "the antithesis of Europe and therefore of civilization, a place where man’s vaunted intelligence and refinement are finally mocked by triumphant bestiality."   Basically this makes Conrad a racist because it is as if Conrad is saying that just because Africa is a foreign country that it is bad.
As Chinua Achebe had said...


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