We had really good conversations today on the question of whether Conrad was a racist or not. Your thoughts seemed very much in the balance on this question. But I think the answer lies somewhere in the middle. His main focus is on the “Darkness” at the heart of contemporary civilisation with its exploitative cast of mind. His interest is not centrally on the native inhabitants of Africa although he clearly does show deep interest in the suffering that they have had to endure at the hands of European exploiters. It is really worth exploring what Chinua Achebe has to say on this question. The parallel with the plight of Australian indigenous peoples is stark: they too have had to submit to a wholesale plundering of the springs of their well-being. I strongly recommend you go and visit the art exhibition at the McGlade Gallery Earth Song to get a taste of the living traditions of indigenous peoples in this country.
Blog Topics for next week are coming thick and fast:
Write a short paragraph re-imagining the last event of Heart of Darkness. In your version, Marlow tells Kurtz’s intended the truth.
Chose a passage in Heart of Darkness that describes landscape and use Conrad’s method to describe a landscape that you are familiar with.
Find Chinua Achebe’s critical comments on Conrad (see link above) and write a short critique on Achebe’s views. Do you agree or disagree with him?
Create a creative or critical topic of your own sparked off by work we have done this week.