Joseph Conrad an immigrant who got citizenship in the UK became a prominent bourgeoisie of European culture, traditions ideas. This essay seeks to construct Post Colonial Narratives about the novel: Heart of Darkness .
I have developed certain diagnostic tools for a post colonial narrative and they are: Philosophical Etymology, Psychological Pharmacology, Existential Ontology and Post modern theology.
The Heart of Darkness is a metaphor for understanding how the colonial mind connotes the unknown as the wild, savage and untamable. The Occident looks down upon the Orient as lacking a befitting civilization and as one of a misanthrope. Cruising down an African river, Conrad depicts the people living there with colossal ignorance. The motto: capture, tame and subdue rings the bells of the day. African culture is viewed as a macabre culture.
Next Conrad uses the term: NIGGER, a term of insult for black culture. We all know how much Black Culture has bequeathed to civilization. Especially reminiscent is Black Culture’s contribution in the field of Jazz, Blues and Gospel. Black culture has also infused the literary world with doyens like Toni Morrison and Chinua Achebe.
Conrad takes the view point that European ideas, customs and traditions have to be indoctrinated and thus there is a need of taming the savage.
Yes, the Heart of Darkness is a narrative wounding the ethos of Black Culture and its ramifications for civilization.
Here I take into account Jacque Lacan’s Gaze. The gaze in Lacan’s conception is a metaphor for libido, for machismo. The gaze has a clinical effect. Let’s analyze how the gaze works in Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. The gaze is a clinically colonial one, wanting to pulverize the culture, values and traditions of the colonized. The gaze wants to confiscate, appropriate and tyrannize the colonized. The gaze is an instrument of a colonial Phallus.
Looking at novel from a Freudian point of view, we understand that the phallus creates seeds of anarchy, rebellion in its attempt to infiltrate black culture. The Oedipus complex takes a u turn and the father is valorized over the Mother. Ideas of the European mind are phallic and become that of conquering the fetishes of African culture.
Next we can look at the Novel from a Jungian point of view. The protagonist in the novel bears the archetype of the Devil. The Devil is a European pervert with a corrupt tool. The Devil is only interested in exploiting, dominating and ruining the resources of the Africans.
Existential philosophy with its brother (ontology) or being connotes three states of being: being in itself, being for itself and being for others. Being is a primeval consciousness. Being in itself is the direction of consciousness towards a goal. Being for itself is the gratification of desires. In the colonial World View: being for itself becomes a political philosophy of action. Europe and America have been notorious for slave trafficking. It is pertinent to ask: when was slavery annulled? It is a tide in the history of mankind.
Postmodern theology understands how a binary divide is created. A sign is made up of a signifier (a thing) and the signified (idea). Suppose I say: Dove is peace: Dove is the signifier, the thing and Peace, the signified, the idea. The Binary divide that is created in this work is white versus black, savage versus civilized. The course of the narrative is strewn with spittle of contempt. The Europeans are light flaggers in the dark continent of Africa.