Essay on The Congo River And Charlie Marlow

Essay on The Congo River And Charlie Marlow

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Darkness, in whatever form, exists in the hearts of all mankind no matter what race, religion, or background. When one is separated from their source, home, and culture, the darkness of their heart can often lead to displays of greed, madness, distortion, and evil. In Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, the author uses the Congo River as a symbol to show the importance of Interiors and Exteriors in Marlow’s journey and ultimately how he is able to resist the darkness within himself.
It is apparent that the Congo River functions as the connection between Marlow and the one place that he truly feels at home – the Ocean. The Congo River and Charlie Marlow interestingly both share the same source, but in different ways. Marlow is portrayed as, “a seaman…he was a wanderer…Their minds are of the stay-at-home order, and their home is always with them-the ship; and so is their country- the sea,” (6) and it is evident that Conrad seeks to depict Marlow as a character that never truly leaves his “home”, “the ship” which is represented through the steamer, as well as his “country-the sea,” (6). This causes Marlow to never truly connect or become a part of a single culture such as the Europeans or the natives. He does not seem to belong to the thoughtless, careless, and destructive European imperialist culture and he clearly does not belong to the native savage culture due to the fact that whilst he remains on the river he is still connected to his home and country- the sea. He is constantly juxtaposed and contrasted from the rest of Conrad’s characters and this reinforces him as the hero and protagonist of the dark novel. Conrad subtlety ascribes god-like qualities to Marlow on occasion such as when he is depicted as seated, "cross-legged" l...

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...e is a man of the sea and he always travels by river he never truly leaves his source. This is one of Marlow’s greatest strength’s due to the fact that it allows him to resist the darkness creeping up from inside his heart once he reaches Kurtz who has been separated from his own “home country” and culture and thus given into the madness residing inside his interior. Conrad shows how the grueling trip upstream reflects Marlow’s own inner struggles to understand the ideas and people of his surroundings, particularly Kurtz. He continues to convey how the rapid ease of the trip back downstream mirrors Marlow’s acceptance and understanding of Kurtz as well as the river’s repelling of Europeans and the evils of imperialism. Conrad demonstrates that the only way to defeat the darkness within the heart of mankind is by never losing connection with one’s source or home.

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