Exploring the Horror of Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness

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Exploring the Horror of Heart of Darkness

"The horror, the horror!" Kurtz exclaims prior to his last breath of life on earth. In those final moments, Kurtz was able to say something so true about the whole mess of human life. A life dominated by the fittest, perceived differently through each human eye, and full of judgement lacking understanding of all sides. The various ways the world is viewed causes many problems amongst its people. Whether they are about racism, wealth, or even common sense, conflicts are still subject to arouse. Why? The answer to this is not yet clear because of its complexity and endless variables. Yet what is clear is that it ties into two other aspects-prejudice and social Darwinism or survival of the fittest. Perception is the seed from which those two aspects grow.

Throughout `Heart of Darkness', its readers are given a taste of the many different perceptions belonging to the characters. As the Belgian doctor examines Marlow before his long journey to the Congo, he questions Marlow of his sanity and predicts the trip will have an effect on him mentally. Marlow eventually becomes insane to some of the readers, while the others argue the opposite. Depending on how Marlow's actions were perceived determined their overall view of him. Racism was also argued through Marlow's actions. A shade of skin seemed to somehow be viewed as a factor that determined a person or that person's individual rank in a sense. It was as though Marlow always looked down at the dark colored Africans and preferred to communicate only with whites of his own "kind." For instance at the beginning of the novella, Marlow finds a group of Native Africans chained together....

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...arkness" has a deeper meaning about life and how humans react with it. Perception causes human beings to view things differently from one another, which leads to misunderstandings and unnecessary quarreling. Misunderstandings mixed in with fear of the unknown cause prejudice to arouse and people to disregard and treat others with disrespect and inequality. The inequality of people in society is marked by Social Darwinism, in which only the fittest and most accepted survive, leaving no possibility for those who are different to thrive. The darkness of the world is truly a deeper shade of black containing the fears, nightmares, and misunderstandings of its people. A never-ending pathway is thus created for inequality amongst people who should be working side by side, forgetting their differences, and helping to make the world a better place.

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