Heart of Darkness Joseph Conrad
TOPIC: MARXISTS WORK
Brief Introduction and Settings of the Novella <ul><li>The story of this novella centers around Marlow, an introspective s...
Marxism and Joseph Conrad’s  Heart of Darkness   <ul><li>There are no biographical evidences to support the notion that Co...
Social Classes in the Novella   <ul><li>According to Michael Delahoyde, “Literature reflects an author’s own class or anal...
Education: Marxist issue in the Novella   <ul><li>An important Marxist issue in the novella is education, Marxists see tha...
Religion in  Heart of Darkness   <ul><li>Marxists reader would be interested in the role played by religion in the novella...
Political Issues in the Novella   <ul><li>Politics and political institutions are nothing but superstructures that further...
Oppression due to class conflicts   <ul><li>Conrad describes the oppressiveness of capitalists by his chief narrator, Marl...
Is Novella a Marxist Work? Conclusion. <ul><li>Conrad subtly portrayed that Marlow is not against protests by the natives ...
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Marxists' Work Heart of Darkness

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Marxists' Work Heart of Darkness

  1. 1. Heart of Darkness Joseph Conrad
  2. 2. TOPIC: MARXISTS WORK
  3. 3. Brief Introduction and Settings of the Novella <ul><li>The story of this novella centers around Marlow, an introspective sailor who travels up the River Congo to meet Kurtz who was reputed to be an idealistic man of great abilities. As he travels to Africa or better put Congo, Marlow encounters widespread brutality and inefficiency in the company’s stations. The native inhabitants of Africa have been forced into the company’s service and they suffer ill treatment, over work and enslavement in the hands of company’s agents. </li></ul>
  4. 4. Marxism and Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness <ul><li>There are no biographical evidences to support the notion that Conrad was a Marxist writer but there are several issues in the novella that support Marxist theory . </li></ul><ul><li>The theory of Marxism sees the society divided in three classes, the rich capitalist class, the bourgeoisie and poor exploited class or proletariat. Marxists’ view is that the whole society is corrupted and exploitation has its roots in setting of this society, for this reason Marxist writer not only condemns the exploitation of poor class by the capitalist class but also advocates a classless society. Marxists are utterly against imperialism and interestingly Heart of Darkness is also said to be an anti_imperialist because it attacks on the idea of colonization by criticizing Belgians’ ruthless and brutal quest for ivory in the Congo. </li></ul>
  5. 5. Social Classes in the Novella <ul><li>According to Michael Delahoyde, “Literature reflects an author’s own class or analysis of class relations, however piercing or hollow that analysis may be.” Critical study of the novella would reveal that Conrad sees the natives as constituting the oppressed class who are at the mercy of capitalist class represented by Director of companies, Kurtz. A close look at the characterization would reveal that there is disparity between the rich class and the poor class in the novella as the reader sees that bourgeoisie live in splendor with excessive money to spend because they own the capitals hence they are capitalists. </li></ul>
  6. 6. Education: Marxist issue in the Novella <ul><li>An important Marxist issue in the novella is education, Marxists see that formal education is one of the superstructures, which led to enslave the minds of ordinary people in the society. Education of the workers of wrong type it never makes people to rise against the capitalists, they have formal education which is merely based on ideologies about their work. There is class discrimination in the society but there is no class conscience in them. Then, how can they revolt against class differences and exploitation? </li></ul>
  7. 7. Religion in Heart of Darkness <ul><li>Marxists reader would be interested in the role played by religion in the novella. Like Karl Marx himself said that the religion is the opiate of the people. Most of the times religion makes the exploited class to accept their exploitation as their fate because religion gives the people a dose of fatalism. The people not only accept this situation as their fate but also accept the hypocrisy of their religious leaders because of their faith in Christianity </li></ul>
  8. 8. Political Issues in the Novella <ul><li>Politics and political institutions are nothing but superstructures that further enhance the dastardly ideologies of capitalism. For Marxists, political institutions are a way of exploitation. It is only the political intrigue for the capitalists that they hide themselves under the cloak of civilizing the Congolese in order to deprive them of their only source of wealth which is ivory. They use ruthless and brute forces to get what they want. </li></ul>
  9. 9. Oppression due to class conflicts <ul><li>Conrad describes the oppressiveness of capitalists by his chief narrator, Marlow, as he said that, the act of imperialism is nothing but “great demoralization of the land.” Congolese in the novel are portrayed as oppressed class, their resources are misused, their men power is also misused as they are reduced to slavery and forced labour. The natives gather ivory for the capitalist class, they toil by day and night to enrich the oppressive bourgeoisie. </li></ul>
  10. 10. Is Novella a Marxist Work? Conclusion. <ul><li>Conrad subtly portrayed that Marlow is not against protests by the natives but this may not make the novella as Marxist work because no where in the novella Conrad consciously educates the workers to revolt. Such incidents as when one of the natives makes a tentative job with a spear at a white man can not be said to be a mass revolt but it is an individual’s natural reaction to an act of maltreatment. Marlow tries to remain apart from the oppression going on in the Congo. Although he is not a part of the oppressive class but Conrad fails to make him commit class suicide, which would have qualified him to be a true Marxist. </li></ul>

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