preview

journeyhod The Inward Journey in Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness

Good Essays
Inward Journey in Heart of Darkness

Heart of Darkness is a book about one man’s journey into the depths of the African Congo. He travels to a place where, "’the changes take place inside’"(Conrad 15). For a man named Kurtz, his journey went deeper into Africa then he could have ever expected. Kurtz’s journey into Africa ended up being a journey into the darkness within himself.

At the beginning of the journey, Kurtz was a good man who believed in bringing civilization to Africa. You see some of Kurtz’s good intentions in a lot of his writings. When Marlow was reading them, he said, "’…He began with the argument that we whites, from the point of development we had arrived at, ‘must necessarily appear to them (savages) in the nature of supernatural beings-we approach them with the might as of deity,’ and so on, and so on. ‘By the simple exercise of our will we can exert a power for good practically unbounded,’ etc. etc"(Conrad 50). In his writings, Kurtz believed in using the power of Europe for good. He believed in coming to the Africans as a God, not as a conqueror. You also see his good intentions in a picture that he painted. Marlow saw it and said, "’Then I noticed a small sketch in oils, on a panel, representing a woman draped and blindfolded carrying a lighted torch. The background was somber-almost black’"(Conrad 27). The picture gives you an idea about how Kurtz felt before he left

for the interior. In the picture, the darkness is Africa and the woman represents Europe.

The light that she is holding represents knowledge, or the civilization that Europe is trying to bring to Africa. Kurtz believed that he was bringing light to Africa and he expressed that in his picture.

Even though Kurtz we...

... middle of paper ...

...se. But his soul was mad. Being alone in the wilderness, it had

looked within itself and by Heavens I tell you, it had gone mad. (Conrad 65)

Marlow clearly states here that by being in the wilderness, Kurtz was alone and isolated. Through this isolation, Kurtz had found himself. To Marlow he was mad, but he was still clear about himself. To Kurtz, he might have been mad, but he had finally found out who he really was.

Throughout the book, Kurtz struggled to find his true self. In the beginning he believed in bringing civilization for the greater good, but by doing this, he was forced to realize the corruption within himself. Through the loneliness and isolation of Africa, Kurtz’s journey ended up being a journey into the darkness within himself.

Works Cited

Conrad, Joseph. Heart of Darkness. W.W. Norton & Company: New York. 1988.
Get Access