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Heart of Darkness

Heart of Darkness


by Joseph Conrad

Current Events & Pop Culture

Available to teachers only as part of the Teaching Heart of Darkness Teacher Pass

Teaching Heart of Darkness Teacher Pass includes:

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Sample of Current Events & Pop Culture

Is Heart of Darkness Racist?

Nigerian novelist Chinua Achebe provides the most controversial and compelling critique of Heart of Darkness in his essay “An Image of Africa.” Achebe claims that Conrad’s novella is racist because it portrays Africa and Africans as the “dark” background to the Europeans central to the story. (You can also listen to an NPR interview of Achebe on Conrad's novella.)


“If there is something in these utterances more than youthful inexperience, more than a lack of factual knowledge, what is it? Quite simply it is the desire-one might indeed say the need-in Western psychology to set Africa as a foil to Europe, a place of negations at once remote and vaguely familiar in comparison with which Europe's own state of spiritual grace will be manifest.”