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Poor Assumptions and Flawed Conclusions of Conrad's Heart of Darkness

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   During the period when Joseph Conrad's novel Heart of Darkness was written, a common theme in literature was the testing of the moral life through actual experience.  One could not realize an ethical principle without it being justified through the outcome of some practical conflict.  This idea of testing morality through experience is exactly what is presented in Conrad's novel as Marlow's journey results in a trial that not only defines his own beliefs but allows him to make a rather pessimistic conclusion on the morality of mankind.  This realization comes about through the author's double presentation of imperialism in which it is both glorified and criticized.  Marlow begins his narration with a vague position on the issue that appears to find justification for both sides.  As the story progresses and Marlow begins to play a more active role in his situation, the two sides of anti-imperialism and colonization become muted.  Slowly the two opposing beliefs are pressed together until the climax of the novel during Marlow's exchange with the dying Kurtz.  At this point, Marl...


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...ner's Sons, 1991.

Conrad, Joseph.  Heart of Darkness 3rd ed.  Ed. Robert Kimbrough. New York:  Norton Critical, 1988.

Williams, George Washington.  [A Report upon the Congo - State and Country to the President of the Republic of the United States of America.]

 Heart of Darkness.  By Joseph Conrad 3rd ed. Ed. Robert Kimbrough.  New York:  Norton Critical 1988. 87.

Tripp, Rhoda Thomas.  Thesaurus of Quotations.  New York:  Thomas Y. Crowell, 1970.

Achebe, Chinua [An Image of Africa: Racism in Conrad's Heart of Darkness.] 

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