Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

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It is hard to find a more profound description of the colonialist ideal of the 19th century, than how it is illustrated in Joseph Conrad's novel Heart of Darkness. The story revolves around Marlowe, a steamboat captain in Belgian Congo, who is assigned to find Kurtz, an ivory trader, who has distanced himself from the rest of the trading company and gone into the deeper parts of Africa. In spite of the fact that Joseph Conrad is not a native English-speaker, his the book has an very sophisticated and complex plot and text structure. The most interesting is not illustrating purpose of the book, it is what kind of message, the book is trying to bring forth, because there is many. An essential theme of Joseph Conrad’s book is the critique of the psyche of colonialism and how its mistreatment of the African people, corrupts the human mind. How a human being draws itself to the darker side, by being responsible for horrific and degenerated actions. In order to make it more substantial and concrete, the author makes the choice to describe the psychological shift both in a spiritual (subjective) way and in an physical (objective) way. This is accomplished by putting the setting on the Congo River, so when Marlowe travels upriver, he both goes deeper into the dark and unexplored parts of Africa and of his own soul. With this illustration Joseph Conrad dramatizes how the coexistence of the soul and the material world, makes a mark the mind and body of the individual human being. The river also symbolizes the road away from civilization and towards a land that, according to Marlowe, is vestigial and savage. “Going up that river was like traveling back to the earliest beginnings of the world, when vegetation rioted on the earth and the bi... ... middle of paper ... ..., becomes Marlowe acquainted with Kurtz, merely in the form as a phantom or myth. People at the different stations mention him in different context. Some simply appreciate him for his services for the company, some unambiguously despises him for him advances forward in the company to quickly, and some undoubtedly adores him. “‘I tell you,’ he cried, ‘this man enlarged my mind.’ (p.50)“ Those who despises Kurtz should be looked at as if they were some younger versions of Kurtz. Kurtz was send to Congo because of his charismatic leadership and understanding of the power of the word, which has lead him to one of the most prestigious trading station and won the approval of the managers in Europe. He has further on been appointed the biggest hate figure amongst the trading stations, because of all the other station managers will to become as successful as him.

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