How the Heart of Darkness reflects the paradoxes of imperialism in the late 19th century

How the Heart of Darkness reflects the paradoxes of imperialism in the late 19th century

The Heart of Darkness is one of the great literary criticisms of the process of imperial expansion in Africa. Yet Marlowe, the main character, is originally fascinated by imperialism and the possibilities that exploring Africa has to offer to a young man seeking his fortune and a name for himself.  Though the novel is a critique of European colonialism, the paradox is that the novel can not either be classified as anti-imperialist or an imperialist. Conrad aims at painting a picture that he is against exploitation of Africa, but there are instances in the novel that results to ideological contradiction stalemate. Conrad neither believes in the cultural superiority of the colonialist nor rejects colonialism out right.

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Joseph, Conrad. The Heart of Darkness.  Electronic Text Center, University of Virginia. Web. October 20, 2011. http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/747/08