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The Journal of English Language and Literature , Vol.59, No.5, 739 ~ 758, 2013
Revisiting Ideological Implications in Heart of Darkness
권지은 Kwon Jie Un
The critical receptions regarding the political intention of Heart of Darkness have been largely divided into two camps: one that extols its critical attitude toward Belgian Colonialism in Congo, and the other that criticizes its compliance with the latter. Instead of taking a side with either of these camps, this article aims to propose a new way of reading Heart of Darkness by focusing on the discursive function of ideology. The main focus on ideology has shifted from a validating framework (i.e., truth/falsity) to a discursive one through which the individual incorporates him/herself into the symbolic social order. This article attempts to demonstrate that this semiotic mechanism of ideology is the fundamental element in understanding the political implications of Heart of Darkness. It begins with the effort to dismantle the legitimacy that colonial discourse has acquired. In order to do so, the work challenges the stereotyped images of the colonized by imagining its identity not marred with the Western gaze. This critical impulse, however, functions to reaffirm the colonial idea of the Other. The author attempts to present the colonized as unrepresentable and thus beyond the boundary of Western hierarchy, but this unrepresentability only brings out its mysterious and thus always-already objectified status. Taking this element into account, this article aims to show that the reconfirmation of colonial discourse in this work is less the result of Conrad`s own limitation than a perfect witness to the working mechanism of ideology, in which semiotic representations come to re-articulate cultural vocabularies commonly used within the society and thus end up buttressing the socially dominant value-system.
Key Words
암흑의 핵심, 이데올로기의 작동방식, 재현 불가능한 타자성, 서구의 시선, 비어있는 기표, Heart of Darkness, ideology, the unrepresentable Otherness, Western gaze, empty signifier,영미문학, 문화연구, 비교문학, 비평이론, English and American Literature, cultural studies, comparative literature, critical theory
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