Joseph Conradr’s 1899 novella Heart of Darkness is centered about Charles Marlowr’s voyage into the Congo Free State or the Heart of Africa as a riverboat captain. As he remains at the Central Station in the Congo waiting for parts to repair his steamship, he encounters many horrors of the slave trade and more specifically, The Company. Conrad vividly portrays the Europeans more critically than the Africans.
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Conrad shows this is in the setting of the novel. The imperialistic companyr’s brutality and cruelty deeply contrasts with the magnificent, vast jungle. Although the settlement appears insignificant from above, its tortuous nature is grandiose and overwhelming compared to the natives being forced into labor. Conrad quotes this in the book saying the silent wilderness surrounding this cleared speck on the earth struck me as something great and invincible, like evil or truth, (page __) This contrast between the native Africans and the men who work for the company is projected throughout the book and it is clearly shown in the book that Conrad was more critical towards the Europeans than the native Africans.
Heart of Darkness is revolved around Marlowr’s tales to the sailors about his trip to the Congo. Before he arrives, natives appear to be somewhat of an element of fantasy for Marlow. Once he meets them, his views on the natives change drastically. On page 19, Marlow defines the natives as not enemies, they were not criminals, they were nothing earthly now- nothing but black shadows of disease and starvation (page 19). When Marlow first arrives, he can visibly see that the natives were not being treated well and forced to work with no benefits whatsoever.
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