He then establishes a system of forced labor that keeps the people of the Congo in a condition of slavery for ivory and rubber. So, we can deduce that the novel itself, its excerpt to Joseph Conrad’s The Heart of Darkness, and journalism within the Free Congo State portrayed the situation with the darkness it deserved. In the novel, Hochschild shines light on the darkness of the situation in Belgium Congo. Hochschild captures the essence of Leopold’s true intentions and the darkness of his nature when he says, “What mattered was the size of the profit. His drive for colonies, however, was shaped by a desire not only for money but for power”.
Set in the palaces and boardrooms of Europe and in the villages of central Africa, it tells the story of the tragedy that took place during Leopold's so called rule, a tragedy that is so familiar to African-Americans, being told of our African brothers residing in the homeland. This horror story is just in fact that, a horror story, giving and revealing the utter most secrets of the respected King Leopold. Allow me to take you on a journey, pointing out the King's determination and, reasoning for what he'd done and the scars he left deep within the heart of the Congo. In the introduction I stated that Morel was the character that I considered to be the hero of this story, now the main question behind that would be, why? Along with, Who is Morel?
WR 122 11 August 2010 King Leopold’s Ghost: Illuminating Congo’s Heart of Darkness King Leopold’s Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror, and Heroism in Colonial Africa by Adam Hochschild is a sweeping and often revolting account of the atrocities of the Belgian colonization of the Congo and its aftermath. Using a variety of writing techniques, Hochschild creates an engrossing narrative which not only unveils a dark chapter in our global history, but also fosters an empathy in the reader to the victims of the barbarity of the time. The story unfolds around the turn of the twentieth century when European powers began to explore and colonize Sub-Saharan Africa. Belgian king Leopold II laid individual claim to the enormous chunk of land surrounding the Congo River and proceeded to strip the land of its resources, including, but not limited to, rubber, ivory, and people using a deadly system of forced labor. Under the ironic and spurious guise of humanitarianism, Leopold built himself an empire in central Africa, lining his pockets and satisfying his egotism, becoming the largest individual landowner in the world, while the brutality of his reign slashed the Congolese population by 10 million people, or approximately in half (Hochschild, 233).
How does Joseph Conrad portray nature in Part II of Heart of Darkness? Nature is portrayed throughout Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness as a force combatting the white man’s imperialistic ambitions and dominates the imagery and thematic concerns throughout the novella. Part Two of the book gives vivid descriptions of the Congo’s natural envczironment through Marlow’s narrative as he travels in the repaired steamer downriver deeper into the African continent towards the Inner Station and Kurtz himself. In the middle chapter of the book, nature plays a key role in setting the scene and providing a backdrop to Western imperialism. Conrad creates this image through his portrayal of the environment as an extremely foreboding and overbearing setting, a disease spreading force hostile to colonisation and as the precursor to civilization.
The nature of the way the Congolese live is considered savage by the Europeans due to how uncivilized they are. Furthermore, the natives attack Marlow’s steamer while he is on his way to the Inner Station. The river is perfectly quiet, until “[the boat is] being shot at!... [Marlow makes] out, deep in the tangled gloom, naked breasts, arms, legs, glaring eyes—the bush [is] swarming with human limbs in movement, glistening of bronze colour” (74). The natives, for no apparent reason ambush the steamer, further confirming the barbaric nature of the Congolese peoples.
Leopold II is known for being the sole founder and owner of the Congo Free State, a private project undertaken by him ("Leopold II of Belgium"). He is solely responsible for the killing of thousands of Congolese people, the main point in time in which he did this was that of when he tried to extract rubber and ivory thus requiring forced labour, which is “employment against their will by the threat of destitution, detention, violence (including death), or other extreme hardship to themselves, or to members of their families” ("Forced Labour"). The mineral sources that Leopold found in the Congo were also of great importance in his decision of getting them any way that he could. Leopold would have his men go to cities and hold people hostage until his rubber quota or ivory quotas were met thus giving him what he wanted. He was responsible for the deaths of thousands of people yet his good deeds cover up his bad deeds, which is idiotic.
Hypocrisy in the Heart of Darkness Heart of Darkness, written by Joseph Conrad is a novella that exposes the hypocrisy of imperialism. This novella’s main character, Charlie Marlow, describes the atrocities committed by the Europeans in the Congo at the end of the 19th century, considered one of greatest examples of genocide at the time. (Paul Brians, et al.) Marlow sets out on the river towards the station of a Belgian company’s employee named Kurtz deep in the heart of Congo. Upon arriving in the colonized country and during his travels up the river he begins to see the truth about the company’s “trade” as well as the “cultivation” of the “uncivilized” inhabitants and culminates his enlightenment during his encounter with Kurtz.
Joseph Conrad’s novella, Heart of Darkness, explores the enlightenment of Marlow, an explorer who ventures into the Belgian Congo. He is led through a chthonic journey, witnessing humanity at both its darkest and lightest and emerging from the jungle reborn. While both Conrad and his characters make it clear to the audience that Marlow has reached an enlightened state, what precisely he is enlightened about is never explicitly states. A common, easily reached interpretation has Marlow lamenting the evils of European imperialism in Africa. Superficially, this interpretation is well-supported by the text; however, if one goes beyond the surface, the interpretation becomes far more universal and ambiguous.
Europe, Africa, the river, and Kurtz are all plausible candidates for the heart of darkness within Joseph Conrad’s Heart Of Darkness. Marlow may refer to Europe when mentioning the heart of darkness for numerous reasons. The European governments and trade organizations have been the primary reasons for the infiltration and development of Africa. The Europeans have been the ones to enslave the African people and bring misery upon them. Marlow encounters much of this misery when first being introduced to the Chief Accountant of the Trade Company.
Imperialism Critique: Heart of Darkness Table of Contents Introduction 3 Background 3 Imperialism: The Four Critics 4 Efficiency and Idea 5 Conclusion 8 Bibliography 9 Introduction Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness was published in 1902 and was one of the first modern novels of that time. Heart of Darkness is a psychological journey to Africa on a ship named the Nellie. One of the characters, Marlow, an agent for a Belgian Ivory Trading firm, recounts his journey into Africa. This journey is shared with a grim account on imperialism. Hunt Hawkins believes that Conrad’s Heart of Darkness was an anti-imperialism novel, as opposed to what some may believe while reading the novel; an example would be Chinua Achebe, who believes the novel to be racist and de-humanizing.