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This novella, based on the Belgian occupation of the Congo in the nineteenth century, portrays the brutal attempt by Europeans to control Africans. This involves a clash between Europeans and the African natives. The Europeans are technologically superior and therefore are able to assert control over the Africans, and they do it mercilessly. Marlow relates many instances of the brutal way the Africans are treated, used as slaves, over-worked, kept in chains, and left to starve. The Europeans thus appear in a very unfavourable light, although they pretend to be so civilised. The irony is that Africans were often regarded as savage and uncivilized by Europeans, but the Europeans are seen to be worse in many ways in this story. They appear to be wiping out the Africans and their culture by force, simply to take over their land and resources.
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