Heart of Darkness by Josep Conrad

analytical Essay
1062 words
1062 words

In Joseph Conrad’s novel Heart of Darkness, Conrad’s uses Marlow’s experiences to reflect on man’s self-realization and create a spiritual quest, both physical and psychological as he seeks Kurtz, ivory-corrupted, individual in the wilderness. Within the Heart of Darkness, Conrad creates an allegory, an archetypal story of journeys: through hell, back in time, and to the core of the psyche—the heart of darkness.

Conrad’s depiction of the hell in nature becomes evident in the mist of civilization through the many descriptions within the book. Conrad begins the journey to Hell from Brussels and London with a metaphoric reference of the Thames River to suggest that time and the waterway flowed coexisting together, “[running] to and fro in unceasing service” for Marlow to enter the interior of the heart of darkness (Conrad 39). The river allows Marlow to continue his journey from humanity into the condemned wilderness. The visionaries, whom Marlow described that traveled along the Thames to seek wealth and fame, represents the souls of the individuals whose idea of glory, “bearer’s of a spark from the sacred fire” ultimately led to tragic endings (Conrad 39). Conrad alludes to Hell with certain references from Dante’s Divine Comedy, The Inferno, which follows Dantes’s discourse into the nine circles of Hell. Conrad’s compares Marlow to a lay apostle on a similar path of viewing the repercussions of sin and savagery firsthand so emphasize not only his purity but also his. While on the boat, Marlow contemplates about his entrance “into the [primitive] yellow, [right] in the center of the map” (Conrad). For Marlow, yellow served as the lifeless and dead center of the Congo where sickness thrived. Conrad makes it clear for the audience ...

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...arkness in our hearts.

Works Cited Page

Bowers, Terence N. "Conrad's Heart of Darkness and Dante's Inferno." The Explicator 62.2 (2004): 91+. Literature Resource Center. Web. 21 Oct. 2011.

Conrad, Joseph. Heart of Darkness. New York: Amsco School Publications, 1974. Print.

Conrad, Joseph. Heart of Darkness. London: Hesperus Press, 2002. Print.

Gillon, Adam. "The Appalling Face of a Glimpsed Truth: 'Heart of Darkness,'." in Joseph Conrad. Twayne, 1982. 68-77. Rpt. in Short Stories for Students. Ed. Jennifer Smith. Vol. 12. Detroit: Gale Group, 2001. Literature Resource Center. Web. 21 Oct. 2011.

Shmoop Editorial Team. "Heart of Darkness" Shmoop University, Inc., 11 Nov. 2008. Web. 21 Oct. 2011.

Saha, P.K., comp. "CONRAD'S HEART OF DARKNESS." Editorial. MR. Bauld's English Website. 1992. Web. 21 Oct. 2011. .

In this essay, the author

  • Analyzes how joseph conrad's novel heart of darkness reflects on marlow’s experiences and creates a spiritual quest as he seeks kurtz, an ivory-corrupted individual in the wilderness.
  • Analyzes how conrad's depiction of the hell in nature becomes evident in the mist of civilization through the many descriptions within the book.
  • Analyzes how marlow travels back in time to prehistoric ages where he realizes man shares a connection with the natives.
  • Analyzes how conrad presents marlow's journey into the core of the psyche through psychological and religious connections. the theme of breaking away from madness is evident in the novel.
  • Analyzes how conrad uses marlow's experiences through hell, back in time, and into the psyche to show that we must embrace our inner truth in order to overcome the darkness in our hearts.
  • Explains bowers, terence n., "conrad's heart of darkness and dante’s inferno." the explicator.
  • Explains gillon's "the appalling face of a glimpsed truth: 'heart of darkness,'" in joseph conrad.
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