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The Meaning of Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness

:: 3 Works Cited
Length: 1353 words (3.9 double-spaced pages)
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The Meaning of Heart of Darkness


    Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness has a symbolic meaning behind its title like many other great works of literature. The title can actually be interpreted in many different ways. One way the title can be looked at is that it portrays how Conrad viewed the continent of Africa. It might also represent entering into a more primitive society, witnessing humans transforming from civilized to savage. Perhaps the Heart of Darkness refers to the colonialism and imperialism that the Europeans were practicing at the turn of the 20th century.

In the setting that Joseph Conrad gives the characters in the Heart of Darkness, Africa was still greatly unexplored by Europeans. It was thought by many Europeans to be a dark place of savages and strange beasts. As the author Gary Adelman writes in his book Heart of Darkness Search for the Unconscious, "As the journey proceeds from the Coastal Station to Kurtz’s outpost, darkness increasingly becomes associated with savagery, cannibalism, and human sacrifice, with Africans as the embodiment of these ideas"...


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...ans by using the phrase heart of darkness that can easily be linked to different themes. The meaning of the title will more than likely be forever shrouded in ambiguity.

 Works Cited

Aldman, Gary. Heart of Darkness: Search for the Unconscious. Twayne Publishers: Boston, 1987

Brantlinger, Patrick. Heart of Darkness: Anti-Imperialism, Racism, or Impressionism?. MacMillan Press Limited, University of Miami: 1996

Conrad, Joseph. Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad. 1997. September 24, 2000.

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