Essay Misnomer : Civilized Savages By Joseph Conrad

Essay Misnomer : Civilized Savages By Joseph Conrad

Length: 1617 words (4.6 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Strong Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Misnomer: Civilized Savages
In the Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad, the motif of savagery is listed throughout the book. On page six more specifically we see the passage listed on the cover page. This passage was the first time the narrator, Marlow used the word “savagery” with such passion that the reader has to wonder who he really is speaking about. Could he be talking about the Europeans who thought they were agents of civilization or was he talking about those who had not civilized yet in Africa (natives)? Of course since this passage is on the first few pages of the novel, and it is the first time Marlow is talking about “savages”, “wild men”, and “abomination” many assume he is speaking about the natives in the Congo. Marlow was a European about to embark on a journey that he would regret. He originally thought, “I also was a part of the great cause of these high and just proceedings” (pg.16), like most Europeans at the time. The idea that they were going to help the natives civilize was so wonderful, yet they did not know what was really going on in imperialized lands. Marlow had just begun speaking about “very old times”(pg.5) aboard the Nellie and was about to start to talk about his experience in the Congo. But before he began he used the passage from page six to explain to the other sailors of the ugly truth behind the forests, and described it as the savagery and the regrets. This was Marlow’s deep thoughts, he was summarizing the story he was about to tell but in a way no one knew who were the savages, nor what was about to be voiced. This passage fits perfectly to the introduction of Marlow’s long yet fascinating story, it gives the readers a glimpse of the occurrences that would be seen later throughout the bo...

... middle of paper ...

...ear vague description of the whites who were the savages for their imperialistic, brutal, and careless ways.
It is clear that while Europeans, more specifically Belgiums were not helping the uncivilized civilize because they themselves were not as civilized as they aspired to be. Once in the Congo, they do ruthless things, which later they regret and see as horrific. Joseph Conrad clearly wanted the motif of savagery to be a question of who was or was not the savage. With the passage from page six, it is clear he wanted to be vague about it yet you can clearly see his opinion towards the end of the book. The passage I chose is a ambiguous yet very specific, Conrad wanted it to be towards the beginning, to wrap your head around the motif of savagery. Heart of Darkness will remain one of the most differently interpreted and controversial books for many years to come.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Joseph Conrad 's Heart Of Darkness Essay

- In literature, contrasting places are used by certain authors as a way of representing opposed forces or ideas that are central to the meaning of the work. We see this used in the novella “Heart Of Darkness” by Joseph Conrad as he applies the jungles of Africa and Europe to develop the concept of civilization and the heart of darkness respectively. However many critics such as Chinua Achebe and Karin Hannson believe that Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness is a racist work displaying the mistreatment of African natives being below Marlow and Kurtz.In "An Image of Africa: Racism in Conrad 's Heart of Darkness," Chinua Achebe criticizes Joseph Conrad for his racist stereotypes towards the con...   [tags: Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad]

Strong Essays
1241 words (3.5 pages)

Analysis Of Joseph Conrad 's ' Heart Of Darkness ' Essay

- Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad follows an unnamed narrator as he tells the story that a man named Marlow told him. Marlow takes a job where he is sent down to Congo, Africa and is the captain of a ship. The ship’s job is to travel along the river and give supplies to the different ivory camps, but along the way he hears about Mr. Kurtz and becomes enthralled with this mysterious man. All the while, Marlow is building up these expectations of what Kurtz will be like, only to be let down when he meets the man in the flesh....   [tags: Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad, Apocalypse Now]

Strong Essays
1003 words (2.9 pages)

Analysis Of Joseph Conrad 's Heart Of Darkness Essay

- Charles Darwin said that “Animals, whom we have made our slaves, we do not like to consider our equal” (Darwin). In this context, Darwin was referring to animals outside of the human species. However, he mentions that humans have enslaved the animals and treat them as inferiors. In some instances, humans deem other races and civilizations as inferior and enslave them in the same way. In the novel Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad suggests shows the divide between races by paralleling the actions and descriptions of animals and those of the native people of the Congo....   [tags: Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad, Race, Human]

Strong Essays
1236 words (3.5 pages)

Essay on Portrayal of Women in Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness

- Portrayal of Women in Heart of Darkness       In his novel, Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad exposes the evil lurking in the soul of mankind; but this corruption is hidden from the innocent European women. Conrad?s novel depicts women simplistically in black and white . without any confusing shades of gray. There are the innocent white European women who must -- for society's sake -- be misinformed, and the black African she-beast . the antithesis to civilization's order.   Those exposed to the corruption either embrace the wickedness, as does Kurtz, or resist it and become enlightened.  But the innocent European women swallow the lies of the colonial administration....   [tags: HOD Joseph Conrad Heart of Darkness]

Strong Essays
876 words (2.5 pages)

Use of Light and Darkness in Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness Essay

- Use of Light and Darkness in Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness     Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness contrasts light and darkness, to represent the civilized and uncivilized sides of the world. Conrad uses light to represent the civilized side of humanity while contrasting the dark with the uncivilized and savage. Throughout the thematic stages of the novel, that is the Thames river London, the company's office in Belgium, the journey to the "heart of darkness" and the conclusion, light and dark is used to represent these sides of humanity, but on a deeper level many assumptions of darkness and light are challenged, with the appearance of light and dark, and in turn good and evil contras...   [tags: Heart Darkness essays Joseph Conrad ]

Strong Essays
1493 words (4.3 pages)

Analysis Of Conrad 's Heart Of Darkness Essay

- “He cried out twice, a cry that was no more than a breath– The horror. The horror!” (III, p. 178). There are many horrifying things in the world which are of all different orders of magnitude, from disasters that effect millions to insignificant fears of an individual: from catastrophes such as the holocaust to subtleties such as spiders. Conrad, in the Heart of Darkness shows each order, on it 's own level, all in one statement. The eminent Kurtz uttered the aforementioned quote as he was breathing his last, and incorporated all three levels of despair into his last two words....   [tags: Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad, The Horror]

Strong Essays
1027 words (2.9 pages)

Analysis Of Conrad 's Heart Of Darkness Essay

- In literature, readers associate white with doves and purity, and, on the contrary, black with impending doom and storms. However, in higher literature, authors take these guidelines and use them to their advantage to create varying layers to their novels. Additionally, authors utilize classic social roles and create situations that are unique to their story to give their novel a new perspective. Heart of Darkness embodies these qualities of higher literature. While interpreted to be highly racist, the novel’s craft is more important to be analyzed rather than the racial slurs....   [tags: Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad, Chinua Achebe]

Strong Essays
1503 words (4.3 pages)

The Controversy over Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad Essay

- Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad is one of the most widely recognized and acclaimed novellas written. But with fame and recognition comes controversy, which is clearly demonstrated by the broad interpretations of the book. Many people believe Heart of Darkness is racist, while others believe the book is perfectly civil. Chinua Achebe, one of Africa's most renowned novelists, strongly believes that the book is dehumanizing and racist; I agree with him, to a certain extent. Three of the most prominent ways that Achebe discusses Conrad’s racism is by the way the African people are portrayed, the African culture, and the comparison of Europe to Africa....   [tags: civil, racist, portrayed, culture, compairson]

Strong Essays
587 words (1.7 pages)

Essay on The Meaning of Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness

- The Meaning of Heart of Darkness     Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness has a symbolic meaning behind its title like many other great works of literature. The title can actually be interpreted in many different ways. One way the title can be looked at is that it portrays how Conrad viewed the continent of Africa. It might also represent entering into a more primitive society, witnessing humans transforming from civilized to savage. Perhaps the Heart of Darkness refers to the colonialism and imperialism that the Europeans were practicing at the turn of the 20th century....   [tags: Heart Darkness essays]

Strong Essays
1353 words (3.9 pages)

Light and Dark in Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness Essay

- Light and Dark in Heart of Darkness     Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness is a tragic tale of the white man's journey into the African jungle. When we peel away the layers, however, a different journey is revealed - we venture into the soul of man, complete with the darkness of depravity as well as the wonderful. In this essence Conrad uses this theme of light and darkness to contrast the civilized European world with the savage African world in Heart of Darkness. As aforementioned, within Heart of Darkness, Conrad uses light and dark to symbolize good and evil, respectively....   [tags: Heart Darkness essays]

Strong Essays
850 words (2.4 pages)