My thesis statement for this Literary Analysis Project is that "In Joseph Conrad's novel, Heart of Darkness, Conrad uses the European invasion of the Congo as a demonstration of man's natural will to control those who he believes are weaker and inferior to himself." I intend to show, through citation of passages and interpretation of those passages, Conrad's connotation that the darkness within us is what leads to the slavery and brutality in his book.
In Joseph Conrad's book Heart of Darkness there are many, many references to race and to the Africans as a "savage" people. I believe that Conrad, by telling a story of conquest through the character of a white conqueror, is demonstrating through example man's innate will to overcome and overpower those weaker than ourselves. In his story, he shows that while the African Congo, an external darkness, may be overtaken, the darkness within ourselves has no predator.
The British thought of themselves as superior to those who occupied the land before them. They considered the Africans a sub-human species, and in their quest for riches, ivory in this case, they saw it as their divine moral right to subjugate these savages. Racism was a very prominent part of their culture. However, in their zeal, they themselves became more savagely barbaric than any native. By forcing the inhabitants of the Congo to work to the point of physical exhaustion, the Europeans proved themselves less civilized than the primitive indigenous people who inhabited the African Congo Jungle.
The theism of these conquering, "civilized" men is one of a white supremacist nature over all else. The European's view of the uncivilized natives is evident in page 57, the narrator speaks of them in a sympathetic, yet rather self-righteous tone, saying "I don't think a single one of them had any clear idea of time, as we at the end of countless ages have. They still belonged to the beginnings of time- had no inherited experience to teach them as it were".