Freeside Europe Online Academic Journal

Freeside Europe Online Academic Journal

Modern cultural, literary and linguistic perspectives

Ian Jedlica: The Use of a Stereotype to Involve the Reader: Marlow in the Heart of Darkness


DOI 10.51313/Freeside-2021-4

Joseph Conrad’s work Heart of Darkness is seen as racist by many, most notably Chinua Achebe, and is either under the threat of or actually banned from some schools and libraries. This paper would like to demonstrate, with the help of the transactional reader-response theory, that rather than being racist, Conrad, with this unique travelogue into the depths of the Congo at the turn of the 20th century, uses a stereotype, a cliché of the era, in particular the main character Charles Marlow, to capture the reader of the time through their own communal schemata and knowledge. In so doing, he offers an opportunity for the readers to connect and follow the character and educate themselves in the evils and wrongdoings of their own norms and those of the society they lived in.

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ISSN 1786-7967

Budapest Institute, 1139 Budapest Frangepán utca 50-56. Hungary