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
Heart of Darkness
When questioning whether or not Joseph Conrad was an imperialist, a racist or both for that matter, the answer should be quite obvious after reading some of his works, such as, Heart of Darkness. Everywhere you look in this book, there is both imperialism and racism illustrated. Through Kurtz, Conrad's imperialist side breaks through and likewise, through Marlow Conrad's racist views come to life.
According to Dictionary.com, imperialism is "when one nation exerts political, economic, social or military control or influence over another nation or people."
Asking the right questions is indeed an art form . It is however an even bigger burden to try to answer from an analytical presepective these subjective questions which inspire answers and explanations to the ultimate “why” and “how” . As readers we are obligated to carry with us an open mind, an analytical eye and room for suggestive arguments when trying to dissect a piece of writing. Joseph Conrad's novella Heart of Darkness offers the perfect platform for interpretation. With a dozen shades of foggy gray's, the short story is begging for a set of eyes that can see it through. Without proceeding too far into the novella, one can draw out a great deal of analytical suggestions as to what the title itself implies. The word Darkness seems to be a consistent theme throughout the book. So much so, that the amount of weight it carries has given it a special place on the cover. Many critics have found common ground on deciphering the interpretation of the word .The concept of darkness could be respresenting evil. However, some significant subjective questions remain unaswered: Exaclty which character in the novella has fallen victim to this evil? Is it Conrad himself, Marlow, Kurtz or the natives? All of them? Are there different forms in which this evil can manifest itself? Is it talking about darkness in the literal or figurative sense? Would we be considered naïve if we thought evil could be contained or is darkness a necessary evil we all posses and an undeniable part of our reality?
The story Marlow shares with the other men, is a story of reflection. It is a mirror, like most experiences are. Experiences in our lives that teach us and reveal something in our lives that had to be fixed. In this case Marlow (or Conrad) uses Africa as the mirror into the hearts of early Europeans that wished to colonize and only help profit the "less unfortunate". What was it exactly that this unchartered land had in store for Marlow?
The concepts of light and darkness have become synonymous with good and bad, especially in the realm of literature. Light is associated with Heaven, happiness and hope, while darkness symbolizes Hell, hatred and harm. In Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness however, these general conventions are broken in that light symbolizes a far more menacing evil than any form of darkness. While readers seek to view light in a positive way, Conrad’s progressive use of darker examples of light reflects the inner conflict and confusion of the novel’s protagonist, Marlow, and his continued search for light in the world.
In the eyes of the universe, Earth is but a microscopic dot of blue mass. The peculiarity of the lived experience is that on this dot, there can exist societal differences as enormous as the universe itself. In Heart of Darkness, Marlow departs the Western World and dives into the heart of Africa, as if traveling from one end of the universe to the other. Marlow’s calling to Africa is driven by an innate hunger for adventure. By the end of the novel, however, Marlow’s frivolous curiosity is overwhelmed by disillusionment with the alternative civilization he discovers. In this coming of age tale, Marlow’s growth is defined by a loss of narrow minded innocence that develops into a conflicted understanding of the universe.
“It was as unreal as everything else- as the philanthropic pretence of the whole concern…” (29) This quote shows the basis that is represented in this novel, Conrad’s idea of reality can be related with a person’s self exploration. This quote is found in part one of the novel where Marlow sees the plotting atmosphere of the station since all the good things that Marlow have heard about the company were fake. Heart of Darkness, written by Joseph Conrad, is a story that follows the adventure of an explorer named Marlow. His journey up the Congo River allows Marlow to meet new people and discover the reality of Africa and the corruptness within. Although some achieves the perception of what is reality, some characters’ perception of reality changes by factors that has affected them throughout their journey of
Heart of Darkness. That title rings with agony, loneliness, and the sense of evil. The words produce an image of a black heart entangled with unbreakable vines. To have a heart that is figuratively black and bounded to the ties of evil is a bitter and deathly symbol. Who could possibly have that heart? Joseph Conrad, for example, was a man with a heart of darkness. His life reeked with self deception and inner conflicts. Conrad’s book, Heart of Darkness is based upon imperialism and racism. Racism is cleverly hidden within the text, but imperialism is innocently depicted as the civilization of the Congolese people. Conrad’s writing can be interpreted two different ways. One approach is the reader might interpret his writing as an attack on the Europeans as the imperialists trying to help the Congolese, but the African people refuse their help. In contrast, the other approach might be that they feel sympathetic to the Congolese people. They see the Europeans has cruel and heartless. If we seek to understand the racism and the imperialism of that day and age, we can see racism in between the lines. I agree with many of Conrad’s critics when they say that he is completely racist, however I tend to see that no matter what race we are we all have a seed of darkness inside our hearts. Why are we infected with his powerful bug of a race overpowering any minority that is inferior to us due to any significant difference? In the case of Conrad’s book Heart of Darkness, it seems like Congolese people are nothing more than disposable and insignificant.
Heart of Darkness
Heart of Darkness, by Joseph Conrad is a fictional novel with an overflow of symbolism. Throughout the entire novel Conrad uses a plethora of simple colors, objects, and places in order to clarify very complex meanings. By doing this, Conrad is able to lure the reader into a world unlike his or her own: the Congo River, located in central Africa. Although the interpretation of these symbols is so elaborate, the simplicity of each makes it somewhat easy to overlook. A few examples of the many symbols found in Conrad’s novel include the jungle, as well as the colors of white and black, better known as the colors of life and death.
Various parallels can be drawn when comparing and contrasting Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness and Frank Coppola's "Apocalypse Now", while taking into consideration Heart of Darkness is a novella and "Apocalypse Now" is a film. These differences and similarities can be seen in themes, characters, events and other small snippets of information including anything from quoted lines to strange actions of the main characters. Both pieces follow the same story line but they are presented in different contexts, allowing for many differences as well as the ability to see how Conrad is able to write a piece of literature that can be transposed to many different settings regardless the time period and still convey the same message of colonialism.