The Mind of Man in Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad Essay

The Mind of Man in Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad Essay

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The Mind of Man in Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

"The changes take place inside you know" the doctor warns Marlow in Heart of Darkness (9). Joseph Conrad, the author of Heart of Darkness, uses the words of the doctor to warn the readers of the changes Marlow faces on his journey. This journey was a physical journey to the heart of the Congo River, but it was also a journey into the depths of his own mind. As Marlow encounters three stations along the Congo River, he encounters three stations or levels in his mind. These levels in the mind have labels from Freudian psychology-the Superego, the Ego, and the Id. Conrad develops the three physical stations as the psychological stations of the Superego, the Ego, and the Id.

The first station Marlow encounters is the Outer Station. This station represents the Superego, which is "the division of the psyche that develops by the incorporation of the perceived moral standards of the community, is mainly unconscious, and includes the conscience" (American Heritage Dictionary). The Superego is the part of the mind which contains the standards of morality set by society. The Superego is also the section of humans that is a front, or a false face. People use their front to reflect what they think society wants to see. Marlow describes seeing an accountant in the Outer Station who represents the Superego: " I saw a high starched collar, white cuffs, a light alpaca jacket, snowy trousers, a clear necktie, and varnished boots? in the great demoralization of the land he kept up his appearance" Marlow tells his audience (15). The accountant represents society and the influences of society on the Outer Station?the Superego. The European society as a whole is dominant at this station, a...

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...the extremely emotional and arduous pilgrimage to the center of their minds, it is always worth the journey. As shown in Heart of Darkness, there are three stations along the trek to the heart of man's soul. As he reaches each station, man struggles with understanding and recognizing another level of the mind. When a person chooses to make this journey, they must keep in mind that they might not like the truth they find in the end. Man cannot underestimate that truth, because it may be stronger than he may think. To understand the heart of the soul, man must look at every aspect, not just one element.


American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language. 1975 ed.

Conrad, Joseph. Heart of Darkness. New York: Drover, 1990.

McErlane, Kelly. Sigmund Freud and Heart of Darkness.

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