Saturday, February 22, 2014
Africans in Heart of Darkness
Since we talked a bit about different portrayals of African people, I thought I'd talk a bit how they are described in Heart of Darkness. The novella takes place in the Congo under Leopold II, who exploited it for ivory and rubber. Conrad himself worked on an ivory boat in the Congo, and he wrote Heart of Darkness based on his experiences. I read it while I was in ninth grade, so my memory is a little hazy, but I do remember a few of his descriptions of Africans. In some cases, he describes them in a way that makes them seem unintelligent and sometimes even servile. The one African woman who was in charge of anything easily submitted to the insane Kurtz and kinda just did what he told her to. I really enjoyed Heart of Darkness and think it was a good work in many ways, but its' depiction of black Africans certainly wasn't one of those ways.