Essay task: Marlow's narrative presents a critical analysis of the "Empire mind- as well as being a descriptive account of a journey up the river Congo!.
Assess this claim with detailed reference to Heart of Darkness.
Heart of Darkness, written by Joseph Conrad in the year 1899, is a story about a journey up the river Congo in Africa. It is said that the descriptive account is an attack upon colonialism in general. It shows the disparity between the European ideal of civilization and the reality of it, as is shown by the domination, exploitation and torture of the African community.
Conrad shows how British imperialism was, through the naive character of Marlow, who is glad to see the "vast amount of red- on the Company's map (before leaving on his expedition) which represented the British territory. He is also content that "real work is done there- meaning salvation, culture, religion and commerce. He praises the colonization efforts of the British. Marlow symbolizes the positiveness of Imperialism but realizes the evil that the negative Imperialism has caused and decides that it's unnecessary to go through so much evilness. When Marlow states "I had got a heavenly mission to civilize you- he sincerely expresses his kindness and good intentions to help in the advance of Africans. Later on he says, "I was an impostor- he realizes the fact that he is an invader in a foreign land, however he sticks to his moral values. He observes different kinds of abuse of power by white people, just because they believe they are superior because they had better weapons of war. However when he sees abuses and unjust treatment he doesn't try to stop it physically he just turns around, walks away and accepts what is going on. This character had the open-mindness that was missing during imperialism but was too weak to stop the abuses that were happening. He is derogatory towards Roman colonization of Britain because the Romans "were conquerors and for that you want only brute force nothing to boast of, when you have it, since your strength is just an accident arising from the weakness of others-.