We really can't say it better than himself. Heart of Darkness is:

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My own task these past twenty years or so of living by words has been to try to find or make a language to describe the subtleties, the incalculables, the pleasures and meanings—impossible to categorize—at the heart of things. My friend Chip Ward speaks of “the tyranny of the quantifiable,” of the way what can be measured almost always takes precedence over what cannot: private profit over public good; speed and efficiency over enjoyment and quality; the utilitarian over the mysteries and meanings that are of greater use to our survival and to more than our survival, to lives that have some purpose and value that survive beyond us to make a civilization worth having.

Heart of Darkness Free Response Essay

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Heart Of Darkness Research Essay Topics Essay

Let's talk about these seemingly disparate reasons for the kerfuffle that surrounds Heart of Darkness about a hundred and twenty years after it was published: it a) seems like a myth and b) it takes place in Africa. For , the fact that "myth" and "Africa" go hand in hand in Conrad's work is a problem. A huge, racist problem.

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He was not afraid of the natives; they would not stir till Mr. Kurtz gave the word. His ascendancy was extraordinary. The camps of the people surrounded the place, and the chiefs came every day to see him. They would crawl [….] "'I don't want to know anything of the ceremonies used when approaching Mr. Kurtz,"' I shouted. Curious, this feeling that came over me that such details would be more intolerable than those heads drying on the stakes under Mr. Kurtz's windows. After all, that was only a savage sight, while I seemed at one bound to have been transported into some lightless region of subtle horrors, where pure, uncomplicated savagery was a positive relief, being something that had a right to exist—obviously—in the sunshine.

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[Heart of Darkness has] Africa as setting and backdrop which eliminates the African as human factor. Africa as a metaphysical battlefield devoid of all recognizable humanity, into which the wandering European enters at his peril. Can nobody see the preposterous and perverse arrogance in thus reducing Africa to the role of props for the break-up of one petty European mind? But that is not even the point. The real question is the dehumanization of Africa and Africans which this age-long attitude has fostered and continues to foster in the world. ()

Heart of darkness is based in part i,

Basically, Achebe's arguing that the fact that Heart of Darkness uses Africa as a semi-mythical place is exactly the problem. By mythologizing Africa, Africa is portrayed as this big, bad Other that white Europeans get lost within. By using the structure of a myth or fairy tale (Marlow's journey down the Congo is a little bit like Red Ridinghood going to Grandma's) Conrad is legitimizing the idea of Africa as mythological. And that's racist as all get-out.

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But Heart of Darkness is much, much more than a story about a trip up the river. It's a searching exploration of difference: of good and evil, black and white, sanity and insanity. In the end, what we're left with is …nothing.