Analysis Of Joseph Conrad 's Heart Of Darkness Essay

Analysis Of Joseph Conrad 's Heart Of Darkness Essay

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Authors often use imagery in their writings for the purpose of forming a mental picture in the mind of the reader and to create a more descriptive, interesting and interactive text. For example, colours may be associated with the emotion of characters or animal imagery may be used to define a particular character’s behaviour. Imagery can be a key component in a story, when used in an effective manner. Often the colour red is used to show anger, while the colour green represents a character’s envious attitude. In Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad makes particular use of imagery throughout the novella, and most effectively to highlight two apparently contradictory aspects of Kurtz’s personality. First, Kurtz is portrayed as a character with an outstanding positive reputation despite being tyrannical and evil. Most importantly, Kurtz is truly horrific while also being admirable.
First, Kurtz is shown to be a remarkable man when he is described by other characters in the novella. Marlow hears about Kurtz’s positive qualities from several characters before he ever meets him and starts to perceive him as someone of interest whom he would like to meet, and hear speak. He develops an admiration for his apparent knowledge and feels a connection to him based on his own traits. At the Central Station, Marlow hears the brick maker speak of Kurtz and how he believes he will one day take control of the company. To emphasize Kurtz’s superiority, the brick maker exclaims, “He is a prodigy… He is an emissary of pity and science and progress, and devil knows what else” (Conrad 94). The brick maker uses imagery as a way to compare Kurtz to a prodigy, a person with exceptional qualities not usually seen by most people. Kurtz being ...


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...e ivory-company”. The reader is told of Kurtz’s incredible work skill and ethic, and is made to view them in a positive way. This is ironic considering what Marlow learns about Kurtz later in the novella: about him collecting ivory by stealing and threatening from others. He has a good reputation according to the administrative workers at the Company office in Brussels, but they are unaware of his true actions in the Congo. The classification of Kurtz being the best ivory trader in the Congo is ironic and contradictory when compared to the reason he is described as such. He uses negative aspects such as threats and forces to create a positive reputation, which overall highlights his negative behaviour. Kurtz should be seen in a positive light for his success but Marlow learns the truth behind his title, one that is horrific and should not be rewarded.

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