Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

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In Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness, discuss the civilizing work of the white community in the Congo.

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The concept of civilization by the white community in Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness is seemingly at the core of the author's intent—to expose the reality of what transpired in the Congo in Africa.

King Leopold II of Belgium knew that Henry Morton Stanley (explorer) had discovered waterways that allowed access to areas of Africa that were still unknown to Europeans.

...heat, tropical diseases, and the huge rapids near the mouth of the Congo River on the Atlantic had long kept the Congo's interior a mystery to Europeans.

Leopold convinced Stanley to colonize the Congo for Belgium—he wanted his country to be a major colonial power, and the Congo was just what he needed. Rich with ivory (which was in great demand in Elizabethan Europe), and later from rubber, Leopold would eventually be forced to give up his "private ownership" of Belgium, but by then...

...he had made a huge profit from the territory, conservatively estimated as the equivalent of more than $1.1 billion in early twenty-first century terms.

In terms of white civilization in the Congo...

Leopold II described his motives to the rest of Europe as springing from a desire to end slavery in the Congo...

He also insisted that his desire was to bring Christianity to the inner-recesses of this mysterious land.

To curry diplomatic favor, he allowed several hundred Protestant missionaries into the Congo. 

In truth, Leopold II was motivated by pure greed. When he came to the throne, his nation was a small and poor one. Exporting natural resources from the Congo changed all that. Ironically, the King never visited Africa one time during his reign. He had others run the "company" he created, who sent the profits back to him. In carrying out this work...

(The entire section contains 581 words.)

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