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02/21/2012

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I agree that Achebe seems to focus on Conrad more than the book. However, I think that you misinterpreted Achebe's argument about Conrad. Achebe doesn't think that because Conrad wrote a book with racism themes in it makes him racist. Achebe looked at Conrad's personal journals and biographies and it was pretty obvious from those that he was racist. Conrad had a strong obsession with the N word. I think Achebe is trying to point out that Heart of Darkness isn't some marvelous work of art revealing the evils of imperialism. Heart of Darkness is, in reality, a racist book written by a racist that has done more bad than good because it supported the idea that Africa was the foil to Europe.

I completely agree with you. When I read about Marlow's first reactions to being exposed to the black people, I also thought that he was just being ignorant. Marlow agreed that they should be treated differently and even showed respect for the one black helmsmen. Someone who is racist would not do such things admittedly. I think you also make a good point that Conrad may not be racist because many people who express ideas through novels, film, etc have different beliefs than what they are showing, but they are simply telling a story. I think that this is especially true because Conrad does not make himself the narrator. Although Achebe says that Conrad could express ideas differently is he disagreed, maybe he chose to do it this way. I think that Achebe is just bitter...Diaries of a bad black author..?

You bring up a good point. I brought up the same idea in my blog. I believe that the novel is told through Marlow's point of view, which is separate from Conrad's. I understand why Achebe would make the argument that Conrad is a racist through "Heart of Darkness," but the stereotyping of the African culture is used to strengthen the unexposed Eurpoean perspective of the Congo.

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