The Heart of Darkness tells of Marlow, a steam boat captain, who is telling of his experiences on the Congo River to another group of men at a much later time. His story on the Congo begins with him receiving the job as captain of his own steamboat and then leaving shortly after to begin his journey down the river. Throughout his trip, he meets many different people and sees many horrific sights, including poor treatment of the natives, but most importantly, he hears of this amazing man, Mr. Kurtz. He devotes the rest of his journey to finding Kurtz and meeting him, only to be disappointed that he was manipulative, weak, and about to die. Although it is a very different time, Conrad develops truths and themes that are still applicable today. The theme of the world being a “heart of darkness” is still prominent today through the exploitation of people groups by big companies, the corruption of the human race, and humanity knowing of their wrongdoings, but not changing.
In The Heart of Darkness, racism and exploitation of the natives living in the Congo is evident all throughout the novella. At the beginning of Marlow’s story, he observes that “the conquest of the earth, which mostly means the taking it away from those who have a different complexion or slightly flatter noses than ourselves, is not a pretty thing when you look into it too much” (p.107). The natives, or “the brutes” as they ar...
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...to apply to the reader’s life and culture. But to see this, all one has to do is be willing to look inside oneself long enough and hard enough, and it will not take long to see this darkness. To see it in society, simply watching or reading the news for ten minutes shows an immense amount of corruption and darkness in society.
The theme of the world being a “heart of darkness” is still prominent today through the exploitation of people groups by big companies, the corruption of the human race, and humanity knowing of their wrongdoings, but not changing. The world will probably continue to be this “heart of darkness,” but that does not mean the individual needs to continue on this path as well. Conrad is warning the reader of how dangerous this path is, and the consequences it can induce in the individual person, as well as society as a whole.
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