Analysis Of Joseph Conrad 's Heart Of Darkness Essay

Analysis Of Joseph Conrad 's Heart Of Darkness Essay

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Impressionism, “in which the understanding of knowledge comes from the experience from everyday life, as opposed to innate thought,” reflects the ideology of philosopher David Hume and connects to the central idea in Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. Hume’s theory of impressionism further emphasizes to the overall meaning of Heart of Darkness as a whole that in a primitive environment, such as the “darkness,” corrupts its inhabitants.
Conrad integrates David Hume’s impressionism on a journey to the core of the African Congo led by Charlie Marlow, a character who makes observations based on the evil and menacing world around him rather than revealing his innermost thoughts. In order for the reader to understand Marlow’s mindset, Conrad forces the reader to interpret the observations From Marlow’s dehumanizing observation of the natives, Marlow understands how the imperialist world back home feel that the natives are somewhat like animals and need to be domesticated or colonized. The fog, which Marlow and company encounter on their journey to the Congo, symbolizes a more literal representation of the darkness and impressionism. The description of the fog as “more blinding than night” and “just there, standing all around you like something solid” illustrate the characters’ confusion since they are physically blinded and required to guess as to what is to come ahead; whereas, the readers are in the same position (Conrad). The further description of the “dust particles and water vapor in a space that normally looks dark and void” associates the fog with a prior knowledge regarding the “void” in space (Conrad). Conrad’s use of symbolism give Marlow’s observations depth and reinforce the overall idea
One major characteristic of Hume’...


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...e horror!’ ‘His last word—to live with,’ she insisted. ‘Don’t you understand I loved him—I loved him—I loved him!’ ‘I pulled myself together and spoke slowly. ‘The last word he pronounced was—your name,’” (Conrad). By having an unreliable narrator, Conrad demonstrates that by using someone else’s impressions, we are not fully given a chance to understand for ourselves and can only do so when we are in complete isolation from Marlow’s own impressions.
Hume’s philosophy coincides with the major theme of Heart of Darkness, and forces the reader to actually create and distinguish his or her own impression of what happens in the novel. Hence, when the reader encounters uncertainty, he or she is essentially in the dark, and only in utter darkness, he or she can find that Conrad’s purpose is like a mirror, which makes self-reflection essential based on real life experience

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