The Facade of Civilization Explored in Heart of Darkness and Heart of the Matter

The Facade of Civilization Explored in Heart of Darkness and Heart of the Matter

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The Facade of Civilization Explored in Heart of Darkness and Heart of the Matter

 
     Heart of Darkness and The Heart of the Matter afford glimpses into the human psyche, explorations deep into human nature. In each, the frailty of the facade we call “civilization” is broken, by external forces portrayed by Conrad and internal ones by Greene. In both stories there is one who falls pray to corruption and one who is witness both submerged in forces that will not be silenced or reasoned with.

 

    'Wilson sat on the balcony of the Bedford Hotel with his bald pink knees thrust against the ironwork.' He looked out toward the ocean - past the spire of the church thrust into the sky in defiance of the uniform serrated, tin roof-line of the huts clustered around the shore, past the bronze glimmering naked bodies of the inhabitants toiling through the midday heat, toting woven grass baskets and gray baked clay urns upon their heads - to the tranquility that lay just out of grasp, toward the calm that rested just above the water and just below the sky; an ephemeral space one could put his finger upon on land but which always alluded one, slipping just out of grasp when upon the sea. A foreign ship in the bay began taking down the sails to anchor, awaiting another day of futile searches for hidden diamonds. The setting sun draped the tin roofs with a golden gilt which overflowed and dripped to the sand below, creating a landscape worthy of Midas himself, if only for a few seconds.

"Excuse me," a voice said, "aren't you Wilson?"

He looked up at a middle-aged man who stared back from a sunken, yellowed face.

"Yes, that's me"

"May I join you? My name's Marlow."

 

A cursory glance provides a couple s...


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...the Matter. New York: Penguin, 1993.

Guerard, Albert J. "The Journey Within" in Heart of Darkness. New York: Norton, 1988. pp 243-250.

Kiernan, V. G. From Conquest to Collapse: European Empires from 1815-1960. New York: Pantheon Books, 1982.

Lenin, Vladimer. "Imperialism: The Highest Stage of Capitalism," pp. 153-63. Marxism: Essential Writings. Ed. David McLellan. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988.

Megroz, R. L. Joseph Conrad's Mind and Method. London: Faber & Faber Ltd., 1963.

Rich, Paul B. Race and Empire in British Politics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1986.

Sandison, Alan. The Wheel of Empire. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1967.

Semmel, Bernard. Imperialism and Social Reform. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1960.

Thornton, A. P. The Imperial Idea and its Enemies. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1985.

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