Book Analysis: “Heart of Darkness” by Joseph Conrad

Heart of Darkness portrayed a young Englishman’s experiences when he traveled from England to Africa. Marlow explored the three categories of darkness which included; the harsh treatment African Natives experienced under the hands of their colonizers. He also explored the darkness, which led people to commit atrocious acts. Finally, Marlow explored the darkness present within the Congo Wilderness. From all his explorations, Marlow tackled the issues, which differentiated civilized societies from savage societies. He noted that the level of advancement within a society influenced civilization (Conrad 45).

People around the world set certain parameters, which differentiate civilized societies from savage societies. Therefore, stereotypic labels remain prevalent with every passing generation. Socialization agents further reinforce these stereotypes ensuring children learn how to differentiate between civilized and savage societies. These agents include; media, family, and peers among others. As a result, the stereotypic labels persist. People living in civilized societies set the standards of differentiating between the societies they live in with those that differ in the standards defining their society. These defining standards include; advanced levels of technology, high levels of literate people, high levels if industrialization and low levels of poverty. In addition, the adoption of the westernized culture, which promotes liberated thinking among individuals, also constitutes civilization. On the other hand, savage like societies find themselves plagued with limited, stalled levels of technology, industrialization, and retention of traditional, cultural practices. Refusal to embrace westernized cultural practices warrants a society to be labeled as a savage community. Most civilized societies look down on savage societies. This explains why some societies supported the spread of imperialism, for example, France and Britain, leading to vices such as colonialism and the rampant spread of the slave trade (Conrad 116).

I think that the culture I live in can be labeled as civilized. This is because it meets the defining standards outlined by other civilized countries. The fact that the cultural practices lean more to westernized cultures and the abandonment of traditional, cultural practices serve as indicators that the culture in which I live in contains aspects of civilization. In addition, the use of a single, unified language for communication purposes shows the level of advancement present within the society in which I live. However, I think that the terms civilized and savage are subjective in nature. Meaning, they vary with the change in perspectives among individuals. Therefore, people living in places labeled as savage societies, disagree with this classification, hence they consider their society as a civilized society (Conrad 77).

In conclusion, Marlow’s explorations showcased the entitled nature of colonialists. This was by pinpointing the way in which colonialists tried to impose their western cultures on African Natives who practiced their own cultural practices. As a result, the Africans’ refusal to abandon their way of life earned them the label of savages. Conrad, therefore, used his literal skills to highlight Britain’s practices. His fictitious character’s exploration of the reasons why people commit heinous crimes also helped to showcase people’s reactions to forceful imposition of items they disagree (Conrad 114).

Works Cited
Conrad, Joseph. Heart of Darkness. New York: SAGE, 1902. Print

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