In his lengthy book Dr.
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- Analysis Of The Book ' Heart Of Darkness ' By Chinua Achebe.
Meyer follows every conceivable lead and sometimes inconceivable ones to explain Conrad. As an example he gives us long disquisitions on the significance of hair and hair-cutting in Conrad. And yet not even one word is spared for his attitude to black people. Not even the discussion of Conrad's antisemitism was enough to spark off in Dr.
Meyer's mind those other dark and explosive thoughts.
Which only leads one to surmise that Western psychoanalysts must regard the kind of racism displayed by Conrad absolutely normal despite the profoundly important work done by Frantz Fanon in the psychiatric hospitals of French Algeria. Whatever Conrad's problems were, you might say he is now safely dead. Quite true. Unfortunately his heart of darkness plagues us still. Which is why an offensive and deplorable book can be described by a serious scholar as "among the half dozen greatest short novels in the English language.
The essay starts by examining the racist perceptions that of Africa that many folks in Massachusetts keep throwing at him while he is teaching there at the University. He "follows the trail" and it leads him to this book. He does a thorough breakdown of it and then of the author.
I was amazed at the fact that this essay surprised people. Reading about Conrad's own almost psychotic obsession with black people being evil and white people being good did not surprise me, but I did think back to my thoughts on The Iliad , I felt a similar thing here. For people to condemn this book it would mean a type of admission to something within them that they aren't brave enough to do. Every apology, every inability to not call this what it is only makes things worse.
I've seen the same done with many white authors of Conrad's era as others have shown and Achebe's argument would hold-up almost without alteration. That this simple truth is glossed over in criticisms of his work is due to the fact that white racism against Africa is such a normal way of thinking that its manifestations go completely unremarked. Students of Heart of Darkness will often tell you that Conrad is concerned not so much with Africa as with the deterioration of one European mind caused by solitude and sickness. They will point out to you that Conrad is, if anything, less charitable to the Europeans in the story than he is to the natives, that the point of the story is to ridicule Europe's civilizing mission in Africa.
A Conrad student informed me in Scotland that Africa is merely a setting for the disintegration of the mind of Mr. My answer is: No, it cannot. Aug 25, Sofia rated it it was amazing Shelves: shorts-anthologies , non-fiction , I should not have expected any better should I? After all even God, religion has been used to justify, so why not words, language as well.
Jun 10, Erica rated it really liked it. There are still timeless observations in the latter at some points, I felt I was reading a description of the US presidency , but the shorter former is really where it's at. Having had to read Heart of Darkness ad nauseam in high school and uni, hating it every time, I found I was actually angry that it took me twenty years to find this critique even existed. If we're going to use Conrad as a model writer in modern times, we must 4.
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- Chinua Achebe's Response to Conrad!
- An Image of Africa Essay -- Literary Analysis, Joseph Conrad;
If we're going to use Conrad as a model writer in modern times, we must be aware of the impact his content has on the subconscious, and make sure this counterpoint is offered, too. The piece is a strong argument for why what we consider canon should be in flux, and for how readers can never truly escape issues of identity in literature, especially when that identity is often shaped by writers male, white often considered to be neutral observers of culture. Oct 25, Colin rated it really liked it. I know little about the latter, so it was good to just follow and educate myself.
For the Conrado piece, though, I wasn't wholly convinced that Conrado was so much worse than the average man of his time, and certainly wasn't prepared to go from there to " So it's a bad book".
Chinua Achebe's Response to Conrad
If you don't try and look at it as a moral guidebook but instead marvel at the spectacle of the colonial project confronting its own mortality, it's a pretty fine piece of writing, I think. Mar 02, Herdis Marie rated it liked it Shelves: non-fiction , nigerian. Chinua Achebe addresses racism in Conrad's "Heart of Darkness" and comments on the then present-day s situation in Nigeria. I will make no pretences towards having any kind of knowledge on Nigerian politics, but Achebe's essay is still interesting, mainly because the arguments he makes, although they are directed specifically at Nigeria, are very applicable to many other, or, dare I say, most other, nations.
The essay on "Heart of Darkness" was perhaps more accessible Chinua Achebe addresses racism in Conrad's "Heart of Darkness" and comments on the then present-day s situation in Nigeria.
"An Image of Africa" by Chinua Achebe
The essay on "Heart of Darkness" was perhaps more accessible to me, as I have, in fact, both read and studied Conrad's famous short novel. Achebe offers some interesting and well-placed insights on why "Heart of Darkness" should be read with a slightly more discerning eye, and he makes several valid arguments for debating the question of Conrad's racism.
I would definitely recommend this essay to anyone who wishes to do a serious study of Conrad, because it offers a different and important perspective on the book.
Chinua Achebe was unknown to me before this book, but I am glad I solved that issue in my life. Here, he presents two very distinct essays when it comes to scope - one regarding Joseph Conrad's inherent racism portrayed in "Heart of Darkness" and "The Trouble With Nigeria", where Chinua exposes what he believes are the most relevant issues with Nigeria. I found both texts to be quite relevant and thought-provoking. However, what led me to think the most about this book was a comment d Chinua Achebe was unknown to me before this book, but I am glad I solved that issue in my life.
However, what led me to think the most about this book was a comment done by Achebe in the first essay. Here, Achebe suggests that Joseph Conrad had an obligation to intervene directly in his double-proxy narrative to make it clear that he does not condone or agree with the portrayal of the African people in the "Heart of Darkness". This raises several considerations - what is the role of an author in portraying communities which are not his own through the voice of someone else?
Does the literary value of a story decrease if the author intervenes directly? Should we infer the authors views from those of the narrator? Does a negative portrayal of a community by an author external to that community reflect his view of this community or is the author attempting instead a portrayal by the society? Unfortunately, I have no objective answers for any of these questions, but they have given me a lot to think about, nonetheless, about the role that the so-called canonical literature can have in shaping not only the image of a time and place, but also the image of the people who inhabit this particular time and space.
View 2 comments. Apr 14, Heather rated it really liked it. A fantastically written and righteously angry takedown of the anti-African racism in Conrad's Heart of Darkness. Short but absolutely to the point. Personal favourite quote: "Whatever Conrad's problems were, you might say he is now safely dead. Mar 18, Jennifer Irving rated it it was amazing. Jul 21, Ahmed R. Rashwan rated it liked it. I am starting to wonder whether or not the theory that we usually gravitate towards specific genres or subjects in books depending on our current state of mind is in fact true, as for the second time in a row it seems that the book I'm reading is reflecting how I feel and what is, at the moment, troubling my mind.
For any who know me well enough, know that my love for Africa is deep rooted in my soul and heart. It is a continent that never leaves my restless thought, and I constantly I am starting to wonder whether or not the theory that we usually gravitate towards specific genres or subjects in books depending on our current state of mind is in fact true, as for the second time in a row it seems that the book I'm reading is reflecting how I feel and what is, at the moment, troubling my mind.
It is a continent that never leaves my restless thought, and I constantly dream of the day that I return to the homeland. As an Egyptian, I have always identified myself more as an African, rather than an Arab; mostly due to my vast knowledge of our geographical history and my strong disapproval of the Arab conquest of our region.
Chinua Achebe, reflects a similar vigorous passion towards his Nigeria and towards our African heritage. I have agreed with him on every single point he has made in this book that discusses brilliantly the image of Africa in the eyes of the west, and the troubles facing Nigeria as a nation. African history exists, African literature exists; there is an entire culture that is somehow forgotten in the background, and all of which is touched upon in this book.
It is significant, my dear friends to concern yourself with your heritage and roots; not for the sake of further dividing the populace of Earth, but to perhaps better understand yourself. In my endeavor to learn more about my heritage and my nation, it becomes clear to me that I must stand in defense of my homeland, that I believe is the origin point of all religion, art and music.
The troubles that plague Africa is real and is very often ignored and overlooked, and it rests upon the shoulders of intellectual Africans, as Mr. Achebe identifies himself, to make a difference.
Chinua Achebe: 1930-2013
Brilliant book, by a brilliant man. Recommended to everyone, but highly recommended to all Africans. Sep 25, Yorkshiresoul rated it really liked it. Two essays by Achebe. In the first he de-constructs Heart Of Darknes and re-presents it as an essentially racist work. In this he seems to echo sentiments expressed by Edward Said in Orientalism, that Westerners needed to construct other parts of the world to suit their own narrow world view, and that within this world view they were unable to accept other civilisations and their works as being in any way comparable to the 'great' civilisations of Europe.
The second and longer essay d Two essays by Achebe. The second and longer essay dwells on the politics of Nigeria in the early 's and the corruption and moral emptiness of the country's leaders. It is a fascinating essay and many of the points Achebe makes could be applied to governments and politicians in almost any nation. Nov 15, SerjeantWildgoose rated it really liked it. This book contains 2 superb essays. The 1st is a compelling polemic on racism in Conrad's Heart of Darkness , that must be read by any student of the novel.