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The Descriptiveness of Conrad's Heart of Darkness Essay

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Heart of Darkness was written by Joseph Conrad in 1902. Before it was published it appeared in a 3-part series in Blackwood’s magazine. The story tells of a detailed incident when Marlow who takes over the assignment of the captain of a ferry-boat travels into the darkness. He was employed by the Belgian Trading company. Marlow is employed to transport ivory downriver; however while doing his job, he comes across a person called Kurtz to whom he has to give the ivories after he have collected them. Kurtz is a very reputed man throughout the region and is known by everyone. The novella starts as the main character Marlow at the Thames River in the evening with several other people and starts telling the story about how he entered into the Dark Continent. The novel is a critique to the manifest destiny which is a norm believed that Europeans were chosen by god to rule over the world and make colonies all over Asia and Africa. The Europeans behaved and acted like the kings of the world. They considered Africans as objects and not people. In the novel, Africans were merely used as a backdrop where Marlow—the main character can lay out his philosophical and existential struggles. The dehumanization is harder to identify then open racism or violence. Also, Conrad, through the book hypocrites his own country and blames them for dehumanization. When it comes to analyzing the novella—symbolic interpretations, character development and language are the three main topics to discuss. The novella is written in such precision and high detail that almost every paragraph has a very significant role to play in the overall plot. The story is created to illustrate ideas and themes, rather than just a simple narrative. The ideas and themes are consta...


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...ughout the Heart of Darkness. One of them starts when the unnamed reader describes the ship Nellie, himself, his fellow mates on the ship and particularly Marlow. At first, the unnamed narrator is not sure to be a character in aboard on the ship until a few paragraphs until we realise that he has been observing others—“between us there was, as I have already said”. Marlow gradually takes over the narration beginning “and this also has been one of the darkest places on earth”. Later on in the novel, Conrad has Marlow take over the entire second monologue narrative.
No matter how descriptive the book is, the basic facts still remain that Kurtz was the man who jumps off the edge of insanity and plunges into the dark of insanity. Whereas, Marlow is the man who goes to the edge of insanity, looks over the edge, and had enough strength to not go over to the other side.


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