Essay on Heart Of Darkness By John Conrad

Essay on Heart Of Darkness By John Conrad

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“The horror, the horror.” (Conrad 164). The final words of Mr. Kurtz in the novel Heart of Darkness by John Conrad as his insanity take over. This novel explores the corruptibility of human kind and how quickly one’s moral can be corrupted through the journey of Charles Marlow along the Congo River and his hope in finding the infamous Mr. Kurtz. Progress the is key to life: evolution, learning, teaching, everything has to do with progress. Whether it be progress forward with new discoveries, with future generations’ learning, or whether it be mistakes that hindering progress that one learns from. Evidence of both variations of progress can be found in the novel Heart of Darkness,being made socially, technologically and personally while the novel explores mankind’s corruptibility.
Progress is clearly being made throughout history, but progress isn’t being made all over the world. Marlow witnesses this lack of progress being made in Africa while on his journey. Marlow describes a scene of a French man-of-war ship fighting the natives of Africa as enemies (Conrad 79). This scene is an example of modern technology versus primitive technology. Though the ‘winner’ of this battle is never stated it’s obvious the modern technology wins, because of its effectiveness in the past. Newer has always won over the old, that is the whole point of progress, something being newer and better. Marlow, towards the end of the book, finds himself running in the forest and addresses his fear in doing so. He says, “I thought I would never get back to the steamer, and imagined myself living alone and unarmed in the woods to an advanced age” (Conrad 147). He is afraid because he lives in advanced time but will be trapped in a primitive place. He doesn’t ...


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As Charles Marlow examines the helpings and hindrances to progress in the Congo, he finds countless examples, not only technologically, but socially and mentally. He observes the factors that drive or set back progress. Mr. Kurtz dies because he let his lust consume him and the natives in Africa are viewed as wild animals and treated as slaves because the white man’s lust for power drove him to overpower the natives instead of helping progress by teaching the natives and helping them. Marlow learns all these important factors to progression and the human mind’s mental ability to fall back on its savage, original wild, natural man, he also teaches these facts to four other men on the Nellie as he tells of his journey through the Congo. He is spreading his knowledge with others which, according to President Kennedy, is how the nation, and the world, progresses forward.

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