King Leopold’s Ghost by- Adam Hochschild Discussion Questions

995 Words4 Pages
1. Between 1880 and 1920, the population of the Congo was slashed in half; some ten million people were victims of murder, starvation, exposure, disease and a plummeting birth rate. Why do you believe this carnage has remained virtually unknown in the United States and Europe? Leopold became king of Belgium around the time royalty had to start worrying about Parliament and such things as voters. There was this sort of contest Erurope was going through; countries would rush to get as much African land as they could, usually going after the rich land. Leopold quickly joined in on that, sending the explorer, Stanley. After Leopold hired Henry Morton Stanley to travel across the Congo to conquer most of the land there, he used his clever ways to make major European counties and the United States recognize that this territory was personally owned by him. 2. Hochschild writes of Joseph Conrad that he “was so horrified by the greed and brutality among white men he saw in the Congo that his view of human nature was permanently change.” Judging from Hochschild’s account and from Heart of Darkness, in what way was Conrad’s view changed? How is this true of other individuals about whom Hochschild writes? In what way has this book affected your view of human nature? Joseph Conrad has an ironic usage of words when describing human nature. It goes from “civilized” to “uncivilized.” These different words show how different aspects of human nature compare. Joseph knew humans had some inevitably bad characteristics, but what he had seen was much more than just anger. He witnessed major cases of abuse. The cutting off of limbs, soldiers raping the women being held hostage, people dying from disease, starvation taking over, all of this was eye-insulting. Conrad had never seen so much barbarity before. He now saw just how crass humans could really be. His view on humans changed
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