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During the history of our world, explorations used to help countries and empires to expand their power and to domain over other nations. Although they had a positive effect for the development of societies, ideologies and the bases of countries as we know them nowadays. The manner in which these takeovers were done was full of brutality and violence towards the conquered territories and their native people. “Heart of darkness” is a novella written in 1899 by Joseph Conrad, who was inspired by his experiences during 4 months on the Congo River. His most enigmatic story is his own vision of the traumatic events happening on that time. Conrad suffered from a psychological, spiritual and also a metaphysical shock due to the explicit content observed on Africa, these led to a physical declaim on his health, making him have several fevers and gout for the rest of his life and finally died on August 3th of 1924.
The purpose of this essay is to show my personal opinion about the topics involved on the book by applying knowledge gained during the World History classes, expressing them by answering the two following questions.
What do you think about the brutality and violence with which these explorations were carried out and the takeover of the territories by the Europeans in Africa, in this case the Belgian Congo?
As part of our history, people from that time used to have different ideologies and societies than the ones we have nowadays. Taking this into account we can say that the treat in which people used to interact with other individuals did not take into account morality. In fact, European ideologies made them believe that their actions were good and that there was no injustice on the decisions they made, although, we now know that that was not true due to our moral system and the laws in our system.
The way in which Conrad explains the voyage on the Belgian Congo is very explicit and represents his own vision of the situation lived on that time. He became a witness of all the violence and brutality exerted by the Europeans to the African people. That is why I think that the descriptions used on the book are authentic and explain correctly the treatment and the behavior of people. Furthermore, we know that Europeans abused all the powers they had, they behaved as gods and treated natives as mere animals, so one of their missions was to teach them their ideologies and educate them, of course, the process for making possible this demand was not peaceful at all. It is remarkable to see how human behavior is represented in his book, with his words, the author is capable of transmitting his feelings to the audience and make them travel to that time without even being there.
There are as many opinions as people in the world, which is why there will always be different ideas about the same topic. In books specially, people may differ and bring arguments about diverse postures, which is not bad at all, it is just each individual´s personal opinion. In this case, I liked the book for the following reasons.
On the first place, it is really hard for me to read a book when the topic is not of my interest. Personally, I enjoy more literature about science fiction rather than the type of story “Heart of darkness” is. Despite this problem, I opened myself for different type of books that I am not used to and I could see through the pages that the book was worth of reading.
In addition, I believe that this book is a true testimony of its time, I enjoyed how the author was capable of transmitting his ideas into words for us to understand the situation lived on Joseph Conrad´s era. Moreover, the topic about “expeditions” in our history is known for the violence these acts were involved on, so having a book that explains that idea into a whole text is a fantastic way in which people can read and interpret with examples the factors involved on expeditions and the takeover of land. What I liked the most was that all the descriptions used on the book were simple and easy to understand, the book was not hard to read. It´s length was not so long and the author figures out how to make a placid journey through the pages without causing the reader to stress out and abandon the book.
I would like to conclude this work by saying that the “Heart of Darkness” is a novella full of details which clearly express the way in which the author experienced his instance on the Belgian Congo. One of the most important aspects that need to be clear out is that in the book, the name of the place in which the events are carried out is never mentioned, although, the audience interprets by themselves that this place is the Congo River, due to the historical events that happened during the time of Joseph Conrad.
It is incredible how rough human behavior can become when a place in which there is completely different civilization that the one known, a place in which there is no lays nor justice is found. The book talks about this situation, being Africa (more specific the Belgian Congo) the place mentioned before, and in it, we can see how the conquerors took over the place and started to implement a new ideology by using violent methods. “Heart of darkness” is a book which not all people will be able of appreciating it, even though, this piece is an excellent and real testimony of the acts committed on the times of the expeditions.
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