Heart of Darkness

Undermining Colonial Conquest 12th Grade

In "Heart of Darkness", Conrad distances himself from the eurocentrism of the 19th century, offering a view of scepticism over dogmatic belief in the duplicities of colonial rhetoric. Through this, Conrad subtly undermines the claim of the colonial conquest as an agent of progress and 'forerunner of change'.

Conrad reveals the colonial enterprise as an institution of cavalier indifference. Congo, merely reduced to 'a place of darkness', is constructed as an omnipresent entity, impenetrable, unfathomable to the European realm of cognition. By referring to Congo as a 'blank space of delightful mystery’ and a ‘snake’, a sense of triviality is evoked through the denial of historical context and value; instead, the country is summarised as an animal, its exotic nature and “charm” seemed to only serve the purpose of satisfying colonisers' desire to 'lose [themselves] in all the glories of exploration.’ There, Conrad renders the colonial conquest’s claim to enlighten as insincere by unveiling Marlow’s sentiments for Congo as a ‘white patch for a boy to dream gloriously over’.

Colonial discourse, as an apparatus of power, is shown by Conrad to disavow its own real motivations. The title of ‘brickmaker’ alludes to a sense of real...

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