The Accuracy of Heart of Darkness

Allison Cardace
Nicole Farber
Ashley Ridler
Elizabeth Watson



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Joseph Conrad. (Encyclopedia of World Biographies)



Introduction

Imagine sailing along a dark, mysterious and unknown river. It is foggy and humid and you can hardly make out the riverbank. You hear animal-like cries and can make out figures vigorously dancing. Limp bodies lay against trees and a rotten smell is in the air. You feel fear, confusion, and curiosity. This is how Joseph Conrad felt as he entered the Congo in 1890 after spending most of his life in Europe. He used these experiences to craft the now famous novella, Heart of Darkness. There is no doubt that Heart of Darkness is a renowned and highly respected work of fiction. However, is it a completely fictional story, or are there elements that depict true historical events that happened in Africa?

To discover the answer to this question, it is important to refer to the many prominent critics who have discussed Heart of Darkness since its publication, and to determine what really happened in Africa and whether or not these events are accurately depicted in the novella. It is also important to establish Conrad's intent for writing it, whether or not he really wanted it to be accurate. With its poetic style and seemingly deep interpretations, Heart of Darkness might seem like a fabricated adventure story meant to entertain the reader and arouse questions about humanity and soul. However, Heart of Darkness actually presents a historically accurate account of events that were occurring in the Congo in the late 19th century. Conrad's presentation of the imperialism of the Congo
by Belgium mirrors the actual events that happened. However, the attitudes towards native Africans bias the presentation of Congolese culture, and therefore distort the accuracy and objectiveness of the novella.



Accuracy of Heart of Darkness


Conrad's Purpose for Writing Heart of Darkness
It is important to understand if Conrad's intent for writing Heart of Darkness was to convey some kind of deep meaning, or to simply describe what was happening in Africa at the time. Jonah Raskin argues that the novella was Conrad's way of recording the horrible Belgian Colonialism that was occurring during the time period. He says that the story was intended as a criticism of colonialism in Africa. Raskin supports his claim by citing direct quotes from Conrad himself. Conrad said that a "novelist is a historian, the preserver, the keeper, the expounder, of human experience" (Raskin 115). Conrad believed that the English readers of "Blackwood," the original magazine in which the novella was published, desperately needed to see what was happening in Africa. In order to achieve this goal, Conrad created a story full of romance and adventure that would appeal to these readers, while also creating a record of Belgian Colonialism of the Congo (Raskin 116).


Conrad's Life and Heart of Darkness
Joseph Conrad's own experiences were believed to have been a large influence on the novella Heart of Darkness, which therefore makes for a more accurate representation of imperialism and the abuse of the natives as he observed it in person. Conrad first expressed interest in sailing and exploring the world by sea at age fifteen, and displayed this newfound desire by running away from his home in Cracow, Poland, to Trieste, Italy. At first his guardians gave him grief about taking to the sea, but they soon saw the intense interest he possessed in sailing and allowed him to go. It was on one of his first sea trips that he became particularly inspired, as he came across an English ship for the first time and forever treasured feeling the "smooth flank of an English ship" ("Conrad in the Public Eye" 223). It showed his true passion not only for sailing but for his later home of England.

In Heart of Darkness, Conrad's intrigue in the sea is emphasized when he declares, "there is nothing mysterious to a seaman unless it be the sea itself, which is the mistress of his existence and as inscrutable as Destiny." Conrad continued to pursue sailing, as his main character Marlow does in Heart of Darkness, going on many voyages around the world, traveling to the West Indies, France, and India, amongst others, working various positions on the ships. Specifically relating to the context of Heart of Darkness was Conrad's 1890 sea expedition to the Congo, where he maintained a second-in-command position and even went on to temporarily serve as captain (Conrad, "A Personal Record" xv). He witnessed firsthand exposure to the natives inhabiting the foreign land and the role imperialism played in Africa, both of which were experiences that inspired him to write the later-famed novella.



What did people think of Heart of Darkness at the time of its publication?
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Edward Garnett (Vincent)

The accuracy of Heart of Darkness is portrayed in many reviews of the novel, by critics that lived during Conrad's time and by critics who have recently analyzed the novella. The critical reception of Heart of Darkness has evolved from the time of its publication in 1899 until today, and will most likely keep evolving into the future. This is most likely due to that fact that with the passage of time, authors are able to analyze aspects of the novel more thoroughly with more knowledge.


Considering how current critics are still postulating theories about certain facets of Heart of Darkness, it is important to note whether or not immediate critics understood what Conrad was trying to achieve. In 1902, Edward Garnett wrote a review on Heart of Darkness. He commented that the novel was an, "analysis of the deterioration of the white man's morale, when he is let lose from European restraint, and planted down in the tropics as an emissary of light armed to the teeth, to make trade profits out of the subject races" (Murfin 97). Conrad actually commented to Garnett in a personal letter about this topic, but Conrad's comments were rather ambiguous. In other words, Conrad didn't really mention that he believed Garnett's interpretation to be accurate; but today, we know that the novel was trying to portray how whites were brutishly treating blacks in Africa (Murfin 97-98). Garnett's review reflects how many Europeans most likely viewed the novella at the time of its publication- as a work of fiction with deeper meanings and interpretations, not as a true record of what was really happening in Africa at the time.


Information About Edward Garnett


Themes from Heart of Darkness

Perhaps one of the main reasons why there is so much controversy surrounding the accuracy of this novel is that there are several ideas or themes that Conrad embeds in his story that were used to make his audience think. Many critics try to analyze what themes are present in novels, and also try to see if they correlate to beliefs that existed during the time the book was published. For example, R.A. Gekoski analyzes that the question of reality is one of the main ideas that permeates the novel. The question of reality comes from characters that are self-deluded, like Marlow and Kurtz, and from Conrad's use of metaphors, like how imperialism represents a type of darkness. During the early twentieth century, the idea that reality can be questioned was not present; in fact, not many people had ever thought about the idea of reality, let alone question it (Gekoski 72-90). Hence, because Conrad provided his contemporaries with ideas that were not previously conceived, leading his contemporaries to question truth, Conrad must have accurately represented his theme of reality in his novel.

On this issue, the critic, Vassiliki Kolocotroni, comments, "The erosion of distinctions between civilisation and barbarianism, reason and anarchy, intelligence and instinct which his vision implies remained a concern throughout the twentieth century...Heart of Darkness remained an example, or an influence, for many narratives of empire which followed..." (McHale 18). This reveals that people of the twentieth century viewed Heart of Darkness as an accurate depiction of the times,while abstract, being that subjects addressed in the novel were so important that it inspired other authors to write about similar themes. For example, because of Conrad's accurate depictions, E.M. Forster was inspired to write his novel A Passage to India (1924)
and Graham Greene was also enlightened to write his work,The Heart of the Matter (1948) (McHale 16-20).

In A Passage to India by E.M. Forster, two of the main themes discovered is the complicated relationship between an Englishman and an Indian. This correlates to how Conrad drew upon information to enlighten the complicated relationship between Englishmen and Africans. Furthermore, considering these novels were both written in the early 1900s, it is obvious that the theme of Englishmen versus foreigners was important. In addition, another theme present in this novel is that of racism and oppression of British people who rule over India during this time. This echoes Conrad's implication of how Englishmen exploited Africans, which will be later explicated.

For More Information on A Passage to India

As mentioned previously, some parts of the novel The Heart of the Matter by Graham Green partially correlate to ideas present in Conrad's Heart of Darkness. However, upon review of the main themes present in Greene's novel, it is apparent that he wishes to expand on the idea of the impossibility of accurately communicating with other people. In Heart of Darkness, Conrad draws to the conclusion that language is complicated and illusive; hence, deducing the fact that our way of communication is flawed. A similar idea is illuminated in Greene's novel, when he concludes that there is complication with communicating and understanding other people. In other words, Conrad brings up the question of the accuracy of language, and Greene deduces that communication through language is flawed.

For More Information on The Heart of the Matter



Racism in Heart of Darkness

Racism and negative attitudes towards native Africans are possible factors that distorted the accuracy of Heart of Darkness. Many have argued about whether Conrad himself was a racist or if he was simply presenting a foreigner's view of unfamiliar cultural customs. Chinua Achebe, a Nigerian writer argues that "Conrad was a bloody racist" (Achebe 9). In his essay "An Image of Africa," he discusses the distorted view of Africa Conrad presents in the novel. Achebe says that Conrad creates an image of Africa and portrays the natives as bestial, grotesque, savages who belong in "their place", in Africa (3). He dehumanizes the Africans and deprives them of language, declaring the thought of being somehow distantly related to them is "ugly" (Conrad, "Heart of Darkness" 106). The counter-argument to these claims is that these views are not of Conrad, but of his narrator Marlow. However, Conrad does not hint or subtly reference through Marlow at the possibility of viewing the natives any differently. Conrad shows complete confidence of Marlow's views of the Africans, as if this European view is most certainly the correct one (Achebe 7).

Another writer disagrees with this claim that Conrad is a racist. Peter Edgerly Firchow infers how Conrad does not claim that Europeans are superior genetically or biologically, does not comment on the African race, only the culture Marlow observes, and only judges the physical appearance of the native Africans rather than their intelligence or moral status (10). However, these definitions of racism are very narrow, and it is clear that Conrad's comments on the cultures Marlow observes are generalizations across all black people. Comments on the physical appearance of Africans is just as racist as comments on their intelligence. Individuals with a different skin color than one's own inspire the perspective that Marlow has about Africans. It is clear that Conrad's racism distorts the portrayal of the Congolese people's role in the events that occur. Conrad's portrayal of the native Africans is "grossly inadequate" and is not an accurate account of the people of the Congo (Achebe 12).



Homosexuality or Homosocial?
With the question of racism, Conrad describes homosocial relationships in his novel, which has led some critics to question the idea of homosexuality. One of the ideas from Richard J. Ruppel originate from our twenty-first century idea of homosexuality and the twentieth century view of homosocial interactions between men. During the twentieth century, males formed strong bonds with each other; these relationships could have been strictly relationships or they could have had a romantic component. Ruppel doesn't comment on whether these relationships did exist in Heart of Darkness,
though he does state that they could have been present during the time.

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Richard Ruppel, Viterbo University Department of English (Ruppel's Homepage)
Ruppel first goes into detail of how males were considered during the twentieth century to be "homosocial." This means that men preferred the presence of male company compared to female company. Taking this into consideration, Ruppel notes that it seems appropriate for Conrad to write mainly about interactions between males, because that was a male's reality during the twentieth century (28). In addition, adventure tales were popular during this time period, as it was considered a male-bonding experience. Hence, it was normal for men to have attachments to other men, like in Marlow's relationship with Kurtz (Ruppel 35-37). Ruppel concludes by stating that although during the twentieth century these relationships were considered cultural norms, today they may not be considered as normal, bringing to question our current idea of homosexuality(35).

Information About Richard Ruppel


Accuracy Reflected in Terms and Reviews
The accuracy of Heart of Darkness can be related through an analysis of the terms that Conrad uses and by new insights that have been discovered by current critics. During the twentieth century, two terms were used, "nigger" and "dark," and were used in certain ways that contrast with how they are used today. In other words, Conrad's use of these words would have been justified during the twentieth century, although today they have different meanings and implications. This will be discovered through Craig Raine's analysis of the term "nigger" and Monica Turci's analysis of the term "dark." In both instances, the critics state that the terms are accurately used in the novel, if it is read in the context of the twentieth century; although today, they have different implications.

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Craig Raine (Ricks)
Raine's support of the fact that Heart of Darkness appropriately uses the term "nigger" is based upon his criticism of Chinua Achebe's analysis of the novel. He comments that Achebe stated in regards to the term "nigger"that, "[Conrad's] inordinate love of that word itself should be of interest to psychoanalysts" (355). In other words, Achebe feels that Conrad overly abuses the word, possibly because he has some kind of preoccupation with the term. However, Raine argues that with an understanding of how the term was used during the twentieth century, Conrad's use is justified. During the twentieth century, it was commonplace to use the term as a reference for blacks. Hence, Conrad's use is not obsessive; it is appropriate because it was used often by people living during the twentieth century when they referred to blacks (Raine 355). However, it is obvious that in today's society, the term is offensive, no where near commonplace.
Information About Craig Raine

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"Dark" in Connection With Africa (The Security Sangoma Website)

In addition, Monica Turci contains in her analysis of Heart of Darkness that the use of the term "dark," while controversial today, was accurately used in the context of the twentieth century. According to Turci, the term "dark" in Heart of Darkness must be applied in the context of historical cultural norms. Since this term is used often in the novella, it is apparent that it does have some type of significance. Furthermore, Turci analyzed that this term was used more commonly in connection to the character of Kurtz and certain European characters that had a connection to the African world. Observing Conrad's use of the term in a historical context, it makes sense why he would use the term repeatedly in reference to Kurtz or people in contact with the African world. (Turci 110-111)

Furthermore, during this time period in history, Africa was a mystery, an abstract body that Europeans were not well-informed about. Hence, being that Europeans lacked knowledge, they made certain assumptions that were not valid; one being that Europeans in contact with African societies were outcasts. In fact, people that became acclimated to the African culture were considered "dark" because they associated with the unknown land of Africa. Today, this assumption would be considered outlandish; however, it was a common occurrence to equate the word "dark" with Europeans in contact with Africa. (Turci 110-111)



Use of Multiple Narrators
In Heart of Darkness, Conrad utilizes multiple narrators and also displays a first person narration by the main character, Marlow, who details his trip to Africa, in order to create a more reliable, varied source for the story. The usage of multiple perspectives serves the purpose of increasing the accuracy of the novella, in order to give an account of the goings-on from several different perspectives, and hopefully to eliminate any existing bias (Peters 55). Criticisms of both the European imperialists and the African natives are presented throughout the story. The narrator presents both sides of the conflict of imperialism, detailing how the Europeans cruelly and unfairly abused the natives, while the natives were said to be "inhuman," savage animals (Peters 57). Although some of the specifics vary, being slightly more embellished than the reality of the imperialism in Africa, the overall use of multiple views on the situation provides more accuracy than if simply told by one biased person.

In addition, one of the ideas provoked by the use of multiple narrators is that of the complexity of language. Considering the fact that Conrad himself did not speak English as his first language, it is apparent that it was a challenge to him, but is also a challenge to the reader, not necessarily in deciphering what Conrad wishes to say, but what he implies with his language (Hume 340-341). In addition, a prime in-text example of how language is important in Heart of Darkness was when the narrator of the novel, Marlow, writes, " I was within a hair's breadth of the last opportunity of pronouncement, and I found with humiliation that probably I would have nothing to say. This is the reason why I affirm that Kurtz was a remarkable man. He had something to say. He said it...He had summed up - he had judged. 'The horror!' He was a remarkable man." From this quote, it is apparent that language is key, as the character of Kurtz has supremacy over others as he knows how to speak well. Of course, Conrad's use of language in this instance is not completely revealed, as Conrad is not just trying to show that language is important. Rather, he is trying to show how language is illusive and can't necessarily be trusted.


The fact that language is intertwined throughout the novel is partially due to Conrad's use of multiple narrators. For example, the novel is told mostly by Marlow, but what he is saying may be rooted in truth or it may be fiction. In addition, one of the characters that Marlow meets during his journey on the Congo says how Marlow should only listen to what Kurtz has to say, as his language, and the content provided by his language, is highly superb. The critic Jerry Wasserman comments how Conrad's theme of language was probably one of the most controversial in the twentieth century, and still remains controversial today. Wasserman concluded that Conrad's objective to use language to portray how it is illusive was an interesting way to provoke thoughts about reality (Billy 102-112). In other words, it seemed to Wasserman that Conrad was trying to show how reality is not exactly what we believe it to be, as we revolve around language that is illusive and delusional. As stated, this idea is controversial today, as it was during the twentieth century.


Imperialism in Heart of Darkness
Conrad presents scenes that depict the effects of Belgian imperialism in the Congo throughout his novella. Because Conrad witnessed these scenes firsthand in the Congo, and was alive during Kind Leopold's reign in Belgium, the events in Heart of Darkness are accurate. Jonah Raskin discusses Conrad's intent for writing Heart of Darkness in "Imperialism: Conrad's Heart of Darkness." He says that the novella gives a true record of Belgian Colonialism written in a very poetic form. Raskin claims that many critics have stretched the themes and intents of Heart of Darkness, and that Conrad's real purpose was to criticize colonialists in Africa, and to show English readers what was truly happening in Africa.

According to Raskin, Conrad himself said that "Fiction is history, human history, or it is nothing" (Raskin 115). These views suggest that Conrad did create a truly accurate portrayal of European imperialism. Raskin says that Conrad used the conflicts and tragedies he witnessed and the regions of the Congo that he saw to create a comprehensive and concrete picture of the Belgian Congo. He maintains that by keeping the novella historically accurate, Conrad was able to alter the traditional views of Colonialism in Europe as being honorable and glorious.


Historical Africa and Heart of Darkness




The Beginnings of the Scramble for Africa
At the start of the sixteenth century, the Portugese had an established international slave trading system between France, England, and the Dutch. By the year 1800, the Congo Basin region had joined this system. As with other African nations joining the world market, the Congo's weak economical system came to rely heavily upon the income derived from selling peoples to European traders instead of crops and livestock . Unaware of the fact that foreign powers were taking advantage of and dehumanizing indigenous people, the Congo's new dependence on trade with Europe for stability continued after slavery's fall from favor with much of the world. This is evident at the start of the Industrial Revolution, when it became necessary to devise other economically efficient operations.

"The Mad Scramble for Africa" (Bainbridge)
"The Mad Scramble for Africa" (Bainbridge)
The Industrial Revolution essentially halted the exportation of slaves as a commodity, and its machinery created the need for labor on an entirely different level -- workers to collect the raw materials for production. As industrial society began to flourish, African exploration and the realization that potential gain from its resources did as well. The introduction of factories and machines capable of mass production created a rush of European "land-grabbers" who attempted to claim regions rich in profitable products such as rubber, ivory, palm oil, lumber, and peanuts. This "scramble for Africa" is referred to in Heart of Darkness when Marlow sees a "large shining map, marked with all the colors of a rainbow" on the wall of building in Belgium (Conrad, "Heart of Darkness" 54). What he is seeing is a map of Africa, marked with colors representing territory that different European countries own. One of the most abundant regions of Africa, the Congo Basin, where Heart of Darkness takes place, held exploration appeal not only for its wealth of raw materials, but also because it epitomized Europe's vision of Africa: untamed, exotic, and isolated from the world within the jungle.

It can be said that two of the more notable explorers of Africa and the Congo were David Livingstone and Henry Morton Stanley. Presumably, Livingstone had disappeared and succumbed to capture and mistreatment by natives. Following this public presumption, Stanley, a notable explorer, was sent to the dark continent to rescue him as well as continue mapping the land's interior. After locating Livingstone, Stanley proceeded to join his exploration party. Following several more successful and externally financed expeditions, Stanley was accosted by King Leopold II of Belgium for a "philanthropic" cause through the fraudulent International African Association, with intentions to uncover the mysteries of the Congo and civilize its people.

To take advantage of Africa's wealth of raw material, Leopold II pursued colonizing the Congo as a citizen of Belgium with financial assistance from the government. He enlisted the notorious Stanley to explore, claim land, and establish a colony in the Congo Basin, and named this land The Congo Free State. To further profit from his colonial venture, the King covered up this purchase of land using the alias of the International African Association, a private stock-holding company boasting its dedication to international philanthropic activities for the Congo by outside nations. Essentially, King Leopold II's private ownership of the Association enabled him to be the sole profiteer of a region purchased with Belgium's money. Following the International African Association, King Leopold II formed a second company -- The International Congo Society. The investors for the I.C.S. were secretly bought out by the previous association, furthering his monopoly on the region.

Due to several arising land ownership discrepancies between European countries regarding the Congo Basin region, the Berlin Conference convened in 1884 to reach a "fair" settlement. However, all were unaware that Leopold II actually owned the Congo, not the philanthropic organization in which they believed the Congo Free State to be a part of. The Congo Free State was then declared private property of The International African Society as negotiation. Free trade would still exist in Africa, and the remaining unclaimed regions of the continent were to be divided up among the conference's participating nations so long as the local chiefs voluntarily forfeited their rights to the land. The results of the Berlin Conference further enabled Leopold II's domination of the Congo and imperialism, as well the manipulation of people and abuse of foreign politics revealed by Conrad in Heart of Darkness.


Congolese Culture
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(Ethnic Arts Network)
The Congo Free State, as it was called during the period Heart of Darkness took place, contains hundreds of distinct ethnic groups that each speak different languages and have different beliefs and customs. While it would be impossible to describe the traditions of every group in the Congo, we can explain the elements of the Congolese people that were referred to in Heart of Darkness in the context of their culture. In the novella as Marlow describes the native when he first sees them: "they howled and leaped, and spun, and made horrid faces," "a burst of yells, a whirl of black limbs, a mass of hands clapping, of feet stamping, of bodies swaying, of eyes rolling" (Conrad, "Heart of Darkness" 91). These descriptions depict the Africans as savage, untamed animals. However, these portrayals are highly skewed. What Marlow seems to be witnessing is Congolese dance in these scenes. Dancing is often part of rituals and celebrations in Congolese culture and is spiritually rooted. Dances vary between different groups in the Congo, but most are considered sacred and acknowledge the spirits they believe in. They often celebrate events that Europeans and Americans celebrate as well, such as births and rites of passage.


Music, drums and chanting are referred to in Heart of Darkness as well. In the Congo and in many other places in Africa drums are used as communication tools. They are often used to signal deaths, war and intruders, including when the Europeans began arriving. The chanting of tribes often goes along with these drum signals. The messages that can be sent through these drums are extremely complex. This complexity, however, goes completely unappreciated in the novella. Marlow describes his experience as a monotonous, lingering vibration of a big drum, and many men "chanting each to himself some weird incantation" (Conrad, "Heart of Darkness" 131). It is clear through Marlow's descriptions of the Congolese people that Europeans did not consider it possible for these savage-like people to have any sort of organized civilization with real beliefs and traditions. The aspect of Heart of Darkness is very biased and presented only in the perspectives of the Europeans.



Treatment of the Natives
To see a video the depicts the treatments of the Africans by Europeans, click here
During the corrupt regime of Leopold II, the natives of the Congo underwent horrific mistreatment by the Company in many forms. Women and children were held captive until the quota of rubber collection was met by the men, and all would receive abuse for work that did not meet standards. Also, the constriction of natives' lifestyles led to death by starvation because laborers were overworked and no longer tending crops and herds. The famine imposed by the Europeans, as well as the physical torture they inflicted, are noted in Heart of Darkness when Conrad describes the natives as shells of people and part of the dirt.

Conrad met a brutal Company captain by the name of Leon Rom, who became the character model for Kurtz, when he travelled into the Congo. He noted that Rom decorated the front of his house with 21 skulls as a tactic to both engage laborers and threaten their punishment for incomplete work. In Heart of Darkness, Kurtz's power over the natives is exercised in means both physically and psychologically overpowering--much like Rom. In Part III, Marlow encounters Kurtz's hut and notes that there is a skull post fence surrounding it, stating that "they only
showed that Mr. Kurtz lacked restraint in the gratification of his various lusts, that there was something wanting in him-...[which] could not be found under his magnificent eloquence". The wanting he speaks of is in reference to Rom's own hunger for power, which reflects the overall idea that colonization brings wealth. The sufferings depicted in the video above, e.x. mutilation of the hands and abuse of welfare, were noted in Heart of Darkness as people died slowly and painfully from the results of Colonialism.

A "nobody" sympathetic to the plight of the Africans by the name of E.D. Morel managed to catalyze the decolonization of Africa through journalisim. While working for a shipping company that had a contract with the Congo Free State, he observed that outgoing ships to the Congo carried weapons, chains, and no commercial goods, while the returning ships contained valuable raw materials. He was suspicious that the Congolese were victims of extortion and torture, and campaigned fervently to relieve the people of their mistreatment. His writing brought the situation to the public eye, and the British House of Commons hired Roger Casement to investigate the accuracy of Morel's claims. Upon verifying Morel's findings, Casement urged him to take action and develop an organization to aid the people of the Congo. The Congo Reform Association, founded by Morel and Casement, exposed the torture and dehumanization taking place in the Congo with the support of personal accounts depicting mistreatments such as abuse for not meeting a rubber quota, or the deficit of humans and livestock. Because of the publicity and actions resulting from the Casement report, by 1912 conditions in the Congo were reformed enough for the organization to dissociate.


Conclusion

Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness is a controversial piece of literature whose historical accuracy has been debated since its publication back in 1902 and is still considered questionable in modern times. Even though many critics have accused Conrad of being racist and inaccurate in his portrayal of imperialism and the African natives, for the most part Heart of Darkness is a historically accurate novella. Conrad himself had firsthand experience with and exposure to the situation of imperialism in Africa when he traveled to Congo as a steamboat captain part of a trading company expedition. He also recounts the story through the perspective of several different characters, elaborating on their own stories, which provides a wider span of opinion to the story. Therefore, Joseph Conrad effectively portrayed imperialism in Africa by using his own personal experience in an attempt to display the horrors of nations overtaking Africa.


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