Heart Of Darkness Analysis

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Exposure of the Shadows: An Analysis of Joseph Conrad’s Manipulation of Light and Dark Beckoning readers closer, the gloomy foreboding of a mysterious darkness has typically been indicative of an antagonist or a horror that is to follow, and the glory of a shining light has signified a positive connotation. The pair is often utilized to express an author’s ideas and theme and Joseph Conrad uses the two paradigms liberally in his interpretation of European colonialism in Heart of Darkness. While Conrad employs the typical binary of light and darkness as positive and negative forces, respectively, he also challenges this notion by exposing the contradictions of misdeeds done in light and the portrayal of darkness as a sanctuary.
Conrad applies
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“The distance between, say, the natives on shore and the privileged Europeans on the steamer” emphasizes the separation between the two races and cultures; marking the river with both sunlight and darkness demonstrates the claim laid to the land by Europeans (Shillock). As a place where the natives blend in with their surroundings and seemingly remain impervious to the intentions of the Europeans, the forest is the natives’ haven and their defense. However, it is also “the place where some of the [natives] had withdrawn to die” (Conrad 15). Conrad rebukes the prejudice against darkness by giving the forest an air of comfort, which the natives seek as a hiding place where they can nurse their wounds and hide “deep in the tangled gloom”…show more content…
The line between morally conscientious decisions blurs through Conrad’s use of Marlow as a vehicle for the process of reasoning through the savagery that allows him to explore the contradiction that lies beneath the accepted beliefs of the early 20th century. Evident through “Marlow’s withering condemnation of the colonial enterprise in general,” Conrad is fascinated and sickened by the lengths the European nations have taken to secure their imperialistic goals (Sewlall). These acts of degradation are committed in plain view of the rest of the world- an evil that occurs in pure daylight. The usually associated connotation of sunlight would indicate legality, purity and innocence; Conrad exposes imperialism to the core of its corruption and acts of cruelty horrifically being committed without protest from other European equals. Being a spectator to such exploitations should not rationally be plausible, however, human nature’s “fascination of the abomination” renders society helpless to disagree (Conrad 4). Regardless, humanity features nuances of both sides of the ‘good and evil’ pairing, seen through the parallel of the absolutes of light and

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