This essay consists of two separate parts but the intention is that both these parts will prove to be relevant from the point of view of what this essay sets out to study. The first part will present Joseph Conrad's life and some of his works and the latter part will consist of a comparison of two of Conrad's works, Heart of Darkness and The Secret Agent. In this essay I will begin from two assumptions, namely, that both the works mentioned above include clearly identifiable similarities in their narration, theme and method, and, that Conrad's own experiences and views have had great effect on both works.
Conrad was a master of prose as many critics admitted, even those who proclaimed him a racist. The writing of Heart of Darkness was not only to show the potential of what man could become, but what he already was. Marlow is the everyday man, longing to become something that he cannot even fathom. Kurtz was the ideal man that Marlow, or any man for that matter, longed to become. Kurtz was tormented in his last days because he saw the evil that was in European trade and imperialism. In this, he finds a reassuring simplicity in the ways of the natives. Conrad conveys this theme to those who search for a quality that resides in all men, rather than seeking the errors of one group or person, which is what Achebe accused Conrad of doing as he portrayed the natives as “niggers” and “common savages.” The evils of society set in motion for what Conrad sought to banish from human thought. All men have the capacity to be evil or good, yet the one ideal that determines this state of being is the realization of what good and evil truly are.
Joseph Conrad's novel Heart of Darkness uses character development and character analysis to really tell the story of European colonization. Within Conrad's characters one can find both racist and colonialist views, and it is the opinion, and the interpretation of the reader which decides what Conrad is really trying to say in his work.
Joseph Conrad's novel, Heart of Darkness, is about many things: seafaring, riverboating, trade and exploration, imperialism and colonialism, race relations, the attempt to find meaning in the universe while trying to get at the mysteries of the subconscious mind. Heart of Darkness is a vivid portrayal of European imperialism. The book in other words is a story about European "acts of imperial mastery" (1503)-its methods, and the effects it has on human nature-and it is presumable that Conrad incorporates much of his own experience in the Congo and his opinions about imperialism into the story.
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?
Heart of Darkness is written in the narrative frame and Conrad uses the character of Marlow to narrate his story of the "darkness" of the European colonialization. Marlow narrates his tell aboard a yawl to an anonymous crew. Joseph Conrad became more aware of King Leopold's policy within the Congo, causing millions of deaths of African natives because inhumane practices. He felt he could impact readers through depicting these horrors in his novel. From this viewpoint, Conrad goes on to build his novel of the around the theme of "darkness" compared to a man's natural wi...
Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
Our world has been plagued by racism before biblical times. Two of the most inhumane outgrowths of racism are detribalization and slavery. During the nineteenth-century European Imperialism, racism led to many acts of inhumanity by Europeans, particularly in Africa. Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness presents us with a fictional account of these inhumane acts in Africa illustrating that racism and its outgrowths are the most cruel examples of man's inhumanity to man.
Throughout Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad points to the hypocrisy and horrors associated with colonialism. The half-English, half-French Kurtz is the main vehicle used to convey his theme of European colonialism, as “all [of] Europe contributed to the making of Kurtz” (Conrad 164). It was Kurtz who goes to Africa for the "sake of loot, and thus becomes a great literary symbol for the decadence of colonialism" (Zins 63). With his help, Marlow dissects the reasoning behind colonialism, eventually seeing its evil nature.
In Joseph Conrad’s novel Heart of Darkness, he asserts man’s extensive capacity for evil. Through the method of European imperialism, Conrad contrasts the civilized outer European world to the dark uncharted African jungle. Charlie Marlow, the protagonist of the story, recounts his journey into the Congo to resupply the ivory stations and his quest for a man named Kurtz while explaining his adventures to four other men on ship called the Nellie, which happens to be heading towards London on a river called the Thames. Marlow decides to share his trek when he notices the London skyline and begins to think of “ ‘one of the dark places of the earth,’ ” thus referring to the African Congo (11). Mr. Kurtz serves as the mysterious character in the
Joseph Conrad is the author of the novel, The Heart of Darkness, along with many other profound works. Compared on any scale, Conrad is nowhere near average. Joseph Conrad is a very interesting character who sees the world through wide eyes. By traveling the world and exploring the many walks of life he is able to discuss common global views and habits that include injustices which are explained in his renowned novel, The Heart of Darkness.