By using a lexicographical
method and a transtextual approach to all of Conrad's work this essay outlines
the specific images of China and the Chinese that Conrad has created. The
result shows that aside of the stereotypes which Conrad shares with his
time there is a great variety of differing images.
This leads to the understanding that Conrad's references to China and the Chinese hardly express his own opinions about the country and its people or they do so only in a very indirect way. That is to say, they have to be seen from the aspect of Conrad's impressionist approach to fiction writing. Pronouncements on the Chinese and opinions about them are used to characterize those who express them rather than being intended as reflections of the author's views. Nevertheless, Conrad's views can probably be deduced from the fact that he coupled negative opinions about China and her people with generally disagreeable characters and that by allowing for affirmative pronouncements he differed from the negative opinions that prevailed at his time.