Discrimental Effects Of Imperialism In Joseph Conrad's Heart Of Darkness

1622 Words7 Pages
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…show more content…
Upon meeting Kurtz’s wife, Marlow decides to lie to her, attempting to protect her from the darkness. As Kurtz’s fiancé begs for Marlow to repeat Kurtz’s last words, Marlow lies: “The heavens do not fall for such a trifle. Would they have fallen, I wonder, if I had rendered Kurtz that justice which was his due…but I couldn’t. I could not tell her. It would have been too dark—too dark altogether…” (Conrad 72). Marlow lies to Kurtz’s fiancé in an attempt to protect her from the darkness. After witnessing the darkness of imperialism, Marlow realizes heaven does not fall for the darkness of mankind, so it will not fall for a lie. Upon this realization, Marlow becomes aware of the darkness not only in the jungle, but also back home. As Marlow completes his story, his lie to Kurtz’s fiancé causes Marlow to realize the unavoidable darkness for humanity. After completing his story, Marlow looks up, only to understand how unavoidable darkness really is: “The offing was barred by a black bank of clouds, and the tranquil waterway leading to the uttermost ends of the earth flowed somber under an overcast sky—seemed to lead into the heart of an immense darkness” (Conrad 72). As a result of telling his story, Marlow realizes the darkness of mankind is not only a result of imperialism, but also a result of existence. Lying to Kurtz’s fiancé completes Marlow’s realization of…show more content…
The map draws Marlow into the darkness 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

More about Discrimental Effects Of Imperialism In Joseph Conrad's Heart Of Darkness

Open Document