Ashford 3: – Week 2 – Assignment
Orientalism and Heart of Darkness
In Knowing the Oriental, Edward Said analyzes an attitude he calls “orientalism.” Then, in Rule of Darkness: British Literature and Imperialism, 1830-1914, Patrick Brantlinger applies this concept to the novel Heart of Darkness (see Chapters 6 and 9).
In two to three pages (excluding title and reference pages), discuss the application of orientalism to Conrad’s novel. First, explain in your own words what Said means by orientalism and why he finds it problematic. Then, apply this concept to Heart of Darkness. (If your instructor did not assign Heart of Darkness, you may have to rely on Brantlinger’s discussion of Heart of Darkness in Chapter 9 of his book.) In what ways does Conrad reflect the British attitude of orientalism toward Africa in Heart of Darkness and in what ways does he challenge such attitudes? Be sure to cite specific passages from the texts to support your interpretation.
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