Heart Of Darkness Analysis

1008 Words5 Pages
In the heart of Africa lies darkness beyond that of night. Africa, still mostly undeveloped and covered in wilderness has a beast hidden within waiting to be let out. It is widely known that the primal instincts of a human are savage. In Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, darkness is not just found in the pigment of one’s skin; it is found in the primal instinct of all human beings, and every human starts with a heart of darkness.
In the article "Taming Cannibals: Race and the Victorians" Cora Kaplan explains that darkness is found in the primal instincts of humans. Cora Kaplan states “That so-called savages ate their enemies was one of the most longstanding proofs of their barbarism”, thus indicating the darkness aspect of cannibalism in the Heart of Darkness. The barbarism of it indicates pure human nature, the primal instinct inserted in every Homo sapiens genetic code. This suggests that all characters throughout Heart of Darkness have a metaphorical heart of darkness that they need to overcome.
In the article "Queer Complicity in the Belgian Congo: Autobiography and Racial Fetishism in Jef Geeraerts's (post)colonial Novels" Thomas Hendriks explains that in Africa’s interior white men and women are considered supernatural and godly. In Hendriks article he uses an example of this when he explains that a white woman entered the Congo Basin and was immediately singled out as being special. The African’s thought because she was white she was from another world and they wanted to wait on her hand and foot. The image alluded to in Heart of Darkness is subservience by blacks to whites which was prompted by the fact that Africans had never seen a white person before and didn’t know how to react. This phenomenon continu...

... middle of paper ...

...sful. However, Kurtz died shortly after leaving Africa and the only thing he said to Marlow was “The Horror! The Horror!” and then gave Marlow his book. Marlow then took the book and realized that Kurtz had enlisted the Africans help in collecting ivory. Marlow also realized that he did this by using the godly image the Africans had of white men thus proving Hendrik’s point that the white man is considered supernatural in Africa’s interior.
In conclusion, it is easy to understand how Kurtz came to his conclusions and how a person who is being viewed as “Godlike” might abuse that phenomenon in a questionable way. This is further supported by the fact that Marlow was swayed to believe that the Africans were savages as they attacked his ship. It wasn’t until later that he concluded the attack was prompted by the African’s fear that he would take Kurtz away.

More about Heart Of Darkness Analysis

Open Document