Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
In the novella, Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad uses diction, imagery and syntax to create a mood of mystery in the scene where Marlow, the narrator, begins his journey up the coast. The reader gets caught up in a sense of wonderment, as Conrad’s vivid descriptions of this coast raise more questions than provide answers.
Conrad begins the paragraph by writing, “Watching the coast at it slips by the ship is like thinking about an enigma.” When one thinks about an enigma, or riddle, one attempts to find an answer or explanation for it, and is usually hard-pressed to do so. As Marlow watches the coast pass by, he tries to figure it out, to explain it, to find an answer to it. However, like an enigma, it is confusing and mysterious, and figuring it out is extremely difficult.
In the next line, Conrad uses certain, paradoxical words to describe the coast, such as, “smiling” and “frowning,” “inviting” and “mean,” “insipid” and “savage.” The word choice here very effectively creates a mood of mystery, because Conrad choices so blatantly contrad...