Heart of Darkness as a Post-Colonial or Colonial Novel | Colonial PerspectiveHeart of Darkness as a Post-Colonial or Colonial Novel | Colonial Perspective

What is the colonial perspective of the Heart of Darkness? Is Heart of Darkness a colonial novel? Heart of Darkness as a Post-Colonial Novel in this topic will be discussed these things. Postcolonial literature often addresses the problems and consequences of the decolonization of a country, especially questions relating to the political and cultural independence of formerly subjugated people, and themes such as racialism and colonialism.[2] A range of literary theory has evolved around the subject. It addresses the role of literature in perpetuating and challenging what postcolonial critic Edward Said refers to as cultural imperialism.[3] This link is by Wikipedia. So, in this sense, we can say that Heart of Darkness is a post-colonial Novel as well as a post-colonial piece of literature.

Heart of Darkness states the story of Africa and its inhabitants. If we are supposed to study the novel under the title of post-colonialism, we have to analyze all the conditions related to it. Colonization is the settling of powerful countries among others to control them. They do this task in the name of reformation. The exploitation of the poor people is the result of this colonization. If We analyze the novel as a post-colonial novel we will come to know about certain realities. Above discussion reveal “Heart of Darkness is a post-colonial Novel to a very extent. Some critics are in favour of this title but others are of the view that Joseph is also of the party of the colonizers. They state that Joseph has termed the novel as the heart of darkness because he himself considers Africa as a deserted place. The description he gives about the wild scenery at the opening of the novel is of greater significance in this regard. This makes the reader to be critical of this wild description. He describes nothing but wilderness and darkness. Through the narration, we come to know that there comes no ray of hope and sunlight in that place. The people of Africa are also deprived of being lit by sunlight. The description of the company building given by Marlow is also pathetic. Marlow has narrated about the bewilderment of that country. He explains that if they were being deprived of the facility of food and drink. He just found their ominous death hindering after them. He finds no water to drink at the very start of his journey. He continued to explore the darkness and bewilderment of Africa. Marlow being a narrator and spoke person of Joseph calls Africa the ‘’darkest place of the world’’. His remark about Africa as the darkest place makes the reader think about the conditions prevailing in the Congo.                                                                                                                          

Joseph has given a tragic view of the life and scenery of Africa. His approach in giving the description of Africa looks pessimistic. The native people were living their life under poor conditions. The writer has introduced a group of white men as being colonizers of Congo. These are the white men present at the company and at the inner station. These men were commanded by their chief Kurtz. He colonized Africa and its resources. Congo has treasures of ivory to be collected by these white men. They have come there for trade and business. They call them nigger and savages. They used to call them brutes. Kurtz wants to exterminate all the brutes. He considers himself the reformer and civilized man of the West. He has come from the West to reform the native people of Congo. He used to treat them as animals and wild beasts. This is the worst aspect of colonization.

As far as Heart of Darkness as a post-colonial Novel is concerned, it can be checked out by Marlow’s character. Marlow has explored the miserable condition of the native people. Through each incident, the complexity of the continent of Africa is depicted. Marlow as a spokesperson of the Joseph depicts the profound effect of wilderness and isolation on the part of their lives. This isolation and darkness have forced to live them as niggers and savages. They regarded Kurtz as their god and helper. He occupied the central position in the Congo. Kurtz plays a symbolic role in order to civilize the native people. He has come there from the Western continent.                           

European people have deprived Africans of their basic rights. They disgraced the value of Africa and native peoples. The river of Congo is depicted as a snakelike object. It was depicted as a way leading toward hell. Here we can analyze that Joseph is much critical in describing the state of Africa. Marlow in the course of his visit to Congo and Africa learns how Kurtz has subjugated and exploited the rights of the native people. The white men seemed to be hollow people who were not willing to admire the position of the black people. This novel Heart of Darkness provides a tragic vision of the miserable conditions prevailing in the Congo as well post colonials elements. Through the narration, we come to know about the hidden realities of African life. As the journey of Marlow proceeds to the depth of the Jungle of Congo, it conveys a sense of bewilderment. Kurtz takes the charge of a murderer and attacker. He commits his horrifying deeds in the name of civilization. Marlow finds the evil lurking and hovering in the nature of the white people. Heart of Darkness is the exploration of the evil spread by white men in the name of civilization. Marlow also explored the physical dangers faced by the native people. Kurtz killed many of them when they disobeyed him. He was always obsessed with the passion that he should be the sole ruler of the Congo and the natives. Marlow has seen many black people moving like aunts. They were deprived of food and clothes. They were not aware of their miserable condition. There was a sick man suffering from a serious ailment. He was lying in the Chief accountant’s office. His condition was deteriorating. The sick man was groaning and making others feel irritated. Soon his voice became less audible. Marlow was overwhelmed by the burden faced by that sick man. When the ship was to be repaired by the captain, they felt a need for rivets. But they not found a single rivet there. This showed that they were not facilitated by any kind of machinery equipment.                                                                                                                                          

So we can easily title this novel as a post-colonial novel. Marlow was astonished to know about the fact that the native people admired Kurtz. The atrocities done by the white people were seen by Marlow. Marlow felt dejected at this behaviour of the white people. These people were provided only a piece of limited knowledge about their possession of ivory. They were ignorant of their present condition. They were creeping like aunts and moving like animals on the continent. Colonialism was a consistent danger to their lives. They were subjugated to the extent that they were called nigger and savages. Marlow was a true observer of all the events taking place during the journey to the darkest place.

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