Heart of Darkness

The Binary of Orientalism in Heart of Darkness

Constructing a narrative to impose order on an unfamiliar idea or place is a natural human impulse. Designed to change ÃÂÂRaw realities...from free-floating objects into units of knowledgeÃÂ? (Said 67), narratives about the strange, the ÃÂÂunreal,ÃÂ? and the newly discovered inevitably arise. Equally inevitable is that fact that these narratives ÃÂ" theories, novels, descriptions, or whatever form they take ÃÂ" are nestled in a historical, political, and social discourse that their texts cannot transcend. An important question in engaging a narrative, then, is not only what the text intends to say, but how this intention is said. Joseph ConradÃÂÂs Heart of Darkness is a particularly suitable novel to undergo this type of questioning. ConradÃÂÂs classic novel is often praised as a text that worked against the imperialistic notions that pervaded the time of its writing. Upon closer reading, however, one can see that how the text formulates its ideas relies less on an anti-imperialist sentiment and more on Edward SaidÃÂÂs notion of a binary system of ÃÂÂusÃÂ? and ÃÂÂthem;ÃÂ? of West and East. Indeed, as Conrad constructs his narrative, he also constructs an unavoidably Western view, pitting the known against the unknown,...

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