Joseph Conrad’s novel Heart of Darkness has been the cause of racial arguments debating whether it should be read nowadays. The way Conrad describes African Americans troubles several critics, Achebe in particular. Achebe disagrees with Conrad’s novel so much because in it Conrad dehumanizes African and Achebe won’t let anyone lower his humanity.
Within the first few pages of his article Achebe compares Conrad as being, “no more a great artist than another who may be called a priest who reads the mass backwards or a physician who poisons his patients” (Achebe 9). This phrase shows how much he disagrees with Conrad. Despite the fact that Conrad lived in a time where Africans didn’t have the best image; Achebe believes that there is no excuse to write about Africa the way he did. I agree with Achebe it’s not exceptional and doesn’t justify his racist remarks.
Achebe takes offense to Conrad’s novel and labels him a racist. In particular when Conrad describes Africans in an appalling way; meanwhile, whites are these great humans. “A certain enormous buck nigger encountered in Haiti fixed my conception of blind, furious, unreasoning rage, as manifested in the human animal to the end of my days. Of the nigger I used to dream for years afterwards: (Achebe 10). Conrad focuses on this man being black and it troubles him; meanwhile, the white man is described in a pleasant way, “I met a white man... I took him for a sort of vision...I shook hands with this miracle” (Conrad 15). Why is the black man’s encounter so troubling yet seeing the white man is a miracle? This discrimination between the two men is racist in my eyes. Brantlinger quotes Achebe in “A Cultural Perspective,” “certainly Conrad had a problem with niggers..Sometimes his fixation on blackness is...overwhelming” I agree Conrad does have issues (285). The comparison of the two men, one black and the other white, is very different and the white Englishman is clearly preferred.
Achebe is troubled by the way Conrad describes his people (idk how to punctuate this part), uncivilized,...