Реферат: Conrad Essay Research Paper Cruelty In Joseph

Conrad Essay, Research Paper


In Joseph Conrad’s book Heart of Darkness the Europeans are cut off from civilization,

overtaken by greed, exploitation, and material interests from his own kind. Conrad develops

themes of personal power, individual responsibility, and social justice. His book has all the

trappings of the conventional adventure tale – mystery, exotic setting, escape, suspense,

unexpected attack. The book is a record of things seen and done by Conrad while in the

Belgian Congo. Conrad uses Marlow, the main character in the book, as a narrator so he

himself can enter the story and tell it out of his own philosophical mind. Conrad’s voyages to

the Atlantic and Pacific,

and the coasts of Seas of the East brought contrasts of novelty and exotic discovery. By the


Conrad took his harrowing journey into the Congo in 1890, reality had become unconditional.


African venture figured as his descent into hell. He returned ravaged by the illness and mental

disruption which undermined his health for the remaining years of his life. Marlow’s journey


the Congo, like Conrad’s journey, was also meaningful. Marlow experienced the violent threat


nature, the insensibility of reality, and the moral darkness.

We have noticed that important motives in Heart of Darkness connect the white men with

the Africans. Conrad knew that the white men who come to Africa professing to bring


and light to “darkest Africa” have themselves been deprived of the sanctions of their


social orders; they also have been alienated from the old tribal ways.

“Thrown upon their own inner spiritual resources they may be utterly damned by their

greed, their sloth, and their hypocrisy into moral insignificance, as were the pilgrims, or

they may be so corrupt by their absolute power over the Africans that some Marlow will

need to lay their memory among the ‘dead Cats of Civilization.’” (Conrad 105.)

The supposed purpose of the Europeans traveling into Africa was to civilize the natives.


they colonized on the native’s land and corrupted the natives.

“Africans bound with thongs that contracted in the rain and cut to the bone, had their

swollen hands beaten with rifle butts until they fell off. Chained slaves were forced to

drink the white man’s defecation, hands and feet were chopped off for their rings, men were

lined up behind each other and shot with one cartridge, wounded prisoners were eaten by

maggots till they die and were then thrown to starving dogs or devoured by cannibal


Conrad’s diary substantiated the accuracy of the conditions described in Heart of Darkness:


chain gangs, the grove of death, the payment in brass rods, the cannibalism and the human


on the fence posts. Conrad did not exaggerate or invent the horrors that provided the political


humanitarian basis for his attack on colonialism. The Europeans took the natives’ land away


them by force. They burned their towns, stole their property, and enslaved them. George

Washington Williams stated in his diary,

“Mr. Stanley was supposed to have made treaties with more than four hundred native

Kings and Chiefs, by which they surrendered their rights to the soil. And yet many of

these people declare that they never made a treaty with Stanley, or any other white man;

their lands have been taken away from them by force, and they suffer the greatest wrongs

at the hands of the Belgians.”

Conrad saw intense greed in the Congo. The Europeans back home saw otherwise; they

perceived that the tons of ivory and rubber being brought back home was a sign of orderly


in the Congo. Conrad’s Heart of Darkness mentioned nothing about the trading of rubber.


and Marlow did not care for ivory; they cared about the exploration into the “darkest Africa.”


painting of a blindfolded woman carrying a lighted torch was discussed in the book. The

background was dark, and the effect of the torch light on her face was sinister. The oil


represents the blind and stupid ivory company, fraudulently letting people believe that besides


ivory they were taking out of the jungle, they were, at the same time, bringing light and

progress to

the jungle. Conrad mentioned in his diary that missions were set up to Christianize the


He did not include the missions into his book because the land was forcibly taken away from


natives, thus bringing in a church does not help if the natives have no will. Supplies brought

in the

country were left outdoors and abandoned, and a brick maker who made no bricks, lights up


fact that the Europeans do not care to help the natives progress. When Marlow reached the


station, he saw what used to be tools and supplies, that were to help progress the land, laid in


upon the ground.

“I came upon a boiler wallowing in the grass, then found a path leading up the hill. It

turned aside for the boulders and also for an undersized railway truck lying there on its

back with its wheels in the air…. I came upon more pieces of decaying machinery, a stack

of rust rails…. No change appeared on the face of the rock. They were building a railway.

The cliff was not in the way of anything, but this objectless blasting was all the work going

on.” George Washington Williams wrote in his diary that three and a half years passed by, but

not one mile of road bed or train tracks was made. “One’s cruelty is one’s power; and when

one parts with one’s cruelty, one parts

with one’s power,” says William Congreve, author of The Way of the World. The

Europeans forcibly took away the natives’ land and then enslaved them. All the examples

given are part of one enormous idea of cruelty – cruelty that the European white men believe

because its victims are helpless. These are mystical revelations of man’s dark self.

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