truthhod Quest for Truth in Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness
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The Quest for Truth in Heart of Darkness
Conrad’s Heart of Darkness is set in Africa's Congo region, and his descriptions of that place are stark yet full of the wonder of discovery as well as the shock that comes from uncovering ugly truths. Conrad was purposefully vague in his setting for Heart of Darkness; he never actually named the destination to which Marlow journeyed. This may be because Heart of Darkness was more an inner journey than a journey between places. Conrad juxtaposed his protagonist's inward quest with an outward journey through the wilderness of "dark" Africa. The novel's climax was not comprised of actions, but of moral discoveries and intellectual awakenings.
A stylistic device utilized by Conrad throughout the novel is the highlighting of themes by setting certain symbolic elements in opposition to contrasting symbolic elements. In order to accomplish this, he relied heavily on metaphors. Metaphors only gain meaning, as they are associated in the reader's mind with images or ideas that are beyond the intrinsic meanings of the words themselves (Searl 1979). In reference to the title Heart of Darkness, Ian Watt said " . . . Both of Conrad's nouns are densely charged with physical and moral suggestions; freed from the restrictions of the article, they combine to generate a sense of puzzlement which prepares us for something beyond our usual expectations: if the words do not name what we know, they must be asking us to know what has, as yet, no name" (Watt 1963). Resonating throughout Heart of Darkness was the contrast between elements, which may be represented as being light, and elements, which may be characterized as being dark. Light carries with it the metaphorical meanings ...
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