Interesting Quote from “Heart of Darkness”

“They were conquerors, and for that you want only brute force–nothing to boast of, when you have it, since your strength is just an accident arising form the weakness of others… It was just robbery with violence, aggravated murder on a great scale, and men going at it blind–as is very proper for those who tackle a darkness” (4).

This quote presents the western power as something “brute”, an “accident” that is nothing to be proud of. However, just a few pages earlier , Conrad  presents western colonialists or tradesmen as “bearers of the spark from the sacred fire” (2). Here the sacred fire symbolizes the west. 

This same complicated view of the west as taking with one hand and giving with the other is seen in “Hangtime” and in “The Cradle of Life”. For instance, in “The Cradle of Life” it is a westerner, Jolie who saves all of society from a great evil– but also a westerner who created the need for all of society to be protected from such a threat. In “Hangtime”, the west is a place Kiwame looks to for inspiration for his life goals. However, the west, thorough colonialism, is also what may be responsible for the poor social/ economic infrastructure in his home.

I view “Heart of Darkness” as a means of communicating the west’s actions immeasurable harm on Africa but, also a very disturbing presentation of Western thought towards the continent, character and value of the continent. It does not seem that Conrad himself knows what he thinks of the west’s relationship to Africa, only that the relationship between the west and Africa is plagued with some of the grossest markers inhumanity within the human race.


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