Further, he accuses Conrad of encouraging Africans to be “in their place”, which includes performing activities like:
He feels that Conrad does not like Africans acting in a European manner, citing a passage where a native is operating the boiler on the steamer, ending with the quote “[h]e ought to have been clapping his hands and stamping his feet on the bank.”
Achebe also mentions Kurtz’s mistress, bringing up that she is a contrast to Kurtz’s fiancée (i.e. Europe), an example of Africa’s mystery and primal nature, and a native “in her place.”
Achebe sums up his point by explaining that Conrad’s Africa is to Europe what the famous portrait was to Dorian Gray: a place to cast moral and cultural deformities, so Europe could progress untarnished.
“ Keep away from Africa, or else! Mr. Kurtz of Heart of Darkness should have heeded that warning and the prowling horror in his heart would have kept its place, chained to its lair.”
He finally states that racism toward Africa is inherent to the West even today, and that optimism is difficult, given that it is an almost knee-jerk reaction.