Heart of Darkness and Postcolonial Literature

Post colonial literature posses the ability to question and debunk the imperialist euro-centric values imposed by the colonialist mindset and influence.   Joseph Conrad’s 1902 novella, Heart of Darkness, questions and challenges this concept of imperialism by both embracing and criticizing colonization through vacillation between both colonial and post colonial mindsets. By debunking the colonization process, Conrad successfully exposes the treachery and deceit behind colonization by challenging the traditional philanthropic façade and subtly shifting the respondents mindset from one of a colonialist view to a post-colonialist one. Through challenging colonial concepts, Conrad creates a text in is seen on the cusp of both colonial and post colonial literature while simultaneously fulfilling this purpose of subverting colonialist values through his personal style.

Conrad initially conveys to the respondent the euro-centric mindset adopted by the novella by his portrayal of the indigenous through the perspective of the protagonist, Marlow. Such colonial discourse is illustrated through Marlow’s description of the natives. “A lot of people mostly black and naked, moved about like ants.” Conrad employs a simile, describing the natives “like ants”, to demonstrate to the respondent the derogatory and racist tone adopted by the colonizers towards the natives, dehumanizing them to the degree of being referred to as an insect, which in turn justifies them for the retched act of colonization they undertake. This is also supported when Marlow first arrives at one of the first stations along the river, he notes “Strings of dusty niggers with splay feet arrived and departed;” Through the use of the highly derogatory term “niggers”, Conrad displays the believed superiority the whites hold over the indigenous within the station, supporting   the colonized mindset established within the novella. Through these colonial discourses employed by Conrad, the colonial perspective is...
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