Analysis Of Joseph Conrad 's Heart Of Darkness Essay

Analysis Of Joseph Conrad 's Heart Of Darkness Essay

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Imagine what it must be like to live in a world of darkness. Marlow, the main character in Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness experiences this first hand. As he travels through Africa, Marlow lives in a world of darkness as he witnesses the effects of imperialism, drastically altering his view of human kind. In the beginning, Marlow desires to travel to Africa because it is unclaimed land, only to discover imperialism now casts darkness upon the land. As the story progresses, Marlow witnesses the dark treatment of the natives as a result of imperialism. Upon Kurtz’s death, both Kurtz and Marlow realize the detrimental effects of imperialism, casting a dark shadow on humanity. At the end of the novella, Marlow lies to Kurtz’s fiancé because the truth is too dark for her to bear, realizing the darkness of humanity is not only in the jungle, but also in civilized societies. Although many readers view Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness as the story of Marlow’s journey through Africa, it is really Marlow’s realization of the darkness of mankind as a result of imperialism.
In the beginning, Marlow discovers the darkness of humanity when he views a map of Africa. Initially, Marlow desires to travel to Africa because it is a white space on a map, only to discover this is no longer the case. After recalling his childhood passion for maps, Marlow realizes he can no longer fulfill his childhood desires: “by this time, it was not a blank space anymore…it had ceased to be a blank space of delightful mystery- a white patch for a boy to dream gloriously over. It had become a place of darkness” (Conrad 5). Marlow is unable to fulfill his childhood desires due to the shadow imperialism casts on the land. Initially, the map is pure, but as time prog...


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... of the land. Marlow does not realize the immense darkness associated with imperialism until he travels to Africa and witnesses the harsh treatment of the natives. Kurtz’s death suggests Marlow’s realization of the darkness found within humanity. Marlow becomes aware of the darkness associated with the rest of the world during a conversation with Kurtz’s fiancé. Although Marlow’s journey through Africa results in his understanding of the darkness found in the heart of mankind, Marlow’s journey inspires the reader to conquer the darkness found inside. While discussing the human existence, Marlow provides a glimmer of hope for the reader: “we live in the flicker—may it last as long as the old earth keeps rolling” (Conrad 3). Marlow recognizes the flicker of light remaining in the world and inspires the reader to keep the flicker of light alive for as long as possible.

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Analysis Of Joseph Conrad 's ' Heart Of Darkness ' Essay

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