Mark's Reviews > Heart of Darkness and The Secret Sharer

Heart of Darkness and The Secret Sharer by Joseph Conrad
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's review
Jan 28, 2008

really liked it
Read in February, 2008

Just fantastic. Not that anything less from Conrad was expected. But regard for something special should never be taken for granted, nor should it be deprived of its appropriate kudos when time allows.

Masterful narrative. Better than average characters. An amazing story of a place that time may always forget.

I find it funny that many critics cite Conrad's "racism" in regard to the African natives.

For one, frankly, criticizing someone from that era and background for holding black people in lower regard is like critizing people today for using the Internet. Mostly for worse, it was the attitude of the day. We can't do anything about it. Move on.

Also, I hardly doubt Conrad was necessarily being racist to begin with. The color theme of darkness and black I think has less to do with skin color and more to do with culture, progress, lifestyle and general attitudes in a place of the world that is buffered for everything else. It was a culture that put decapitated heads on spits. Tribes who launched arrows and spears at dudes on steamboats, killing people and shit. It was a people who lived in the dark, musty jungles. Jungles rife with the unknown, with death.

I guess "unknown" is the key word here. Darkness doesn't strike fear because it's black, but because you never know when you're going to stub your toe against the dresser or be attacked by a goddamned jaguar. The color of an African's skin is so inconsequential. In fact, that's my part in curing racism in the world -- quit thinking your damned skin color is so important. It isn't! It means bunk! Nobody cares!
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