Blog #8 – Victorian Ideals in Heart of Darkness

While reading Conrad’s Heart of Darkness I immediately┬ánoticed the connection the text had with many other writings from the Victorian era. From my reading, it seemed Kurtz’ goal in the jungle was one of conquest. He felt the need to rule over the lesser foreigners. This exact ideal is characterized in Rudyard Kipling’s poem “The White Man’s Burden.” The poem explains how it is England’s duty, a moral obligation, whether the ones being colonized like it or not. The poem goes on to justify this blatant invading, and a portion of the English population began to agree with this mentality. I believe the same happens with the Company and Kurtz’ character. They continued to colonize the jungle and viewed themselves as superior. However, Conrad juxtaposes this idea with that of the idea of modernity, another challenge that many from the Victorian era felt. With such an increase in population, colonization, and technology, they struggled with their place in society. I believe Conrad shows this through Kurtz’ infamous lines at the end of the novel. He says, “The horror, the horror…” essentially realizing the complex views of the time.

One Response to “Blog #8 – Victorian Ideals in Heart of Darkness”

  1. Kim Sasser says:

    I’m reminded of the snippet from the text by Leopold II of Belgium I showed to the class wherein he also calls upon the civilizing mission to prop up his exploitation of the Congo.

Leave a Reply