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 contrasting with the reality.
From the initial setting, the Thames river, London, on the "cruising yawl" the Nellie, light and darkness are used to symbolize the good and evil side of humanity. Marlow's tale of the Congo is where light and darkness is used to represent the civilized and uncivilized. Marlow talks of the lights that are reflected in the water, creating the idea that the members of the Nellie are civilized. The lights of London are again used represent the civilized nature of the society, with connotations of "good" coming from the bright lights of civilization. However this is then contrasted with the juxtaposition of the "light", with Marlow saying - "And this also has been one of the dark places of the Earth". By saying this Marlow is portraying London as a city with once the same darkness of civilization, of which the civilized Roman's brought light to. This establishment of light representing the civilized demonstrates the dominant assumptions of the white society, later in the novel it is demonstrated that civilized does no...
... middle of paper ...
...story. However Conrad also challenges many assumptions of darkness being solely associated with evil, and light being solely associated with good, as throughout the novel the light of the white society is critiqued, representing the evil side of humanity.
Works Cited and Consulted
Conrad, Joseph. Heart of Darkness. Middlesex, England: Penguin Publishers, 1983.
Gillon, Adam. (1982). Joseph Conrad. Twayne's English Author Series: Number 333. Kinley E. Roby, ed. Boston: Twayne.
"Joseph Conrad." The Encarta 1998 Encyclopedia Online. Microsoft, 1998.
Kunitz, Stanley J. "Joseph Conrad." Twentieth Century Authors: Vol. T. New York: H.W. Wilson Company, 1942. 307-9
Stape, J.H.. The Cambridge Companion to Joseph Conrad. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Taylor, Derek. Conrad's Heart of Darkness. The Explicator. No.4 Summer 1998: 195-8.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- Light and Dark in Heart of Darkness Joseph Conrad's repeated use of darkness in his novel Heart of Darkness has been widely interpreted. Readers have arrived at many different conclusions about the use of darkness throughout the novel. The critics themselves cannot agree what the darkness means. The critics draw different conclusions about the use of darkness. For some critics, the use of darkness is seen as an intentional literary device. For example, Gary Adelman and Michael Levenson discuss the use of darkness and comment upon Conrad's purpose.... [tags: Heart Darkness essays]
2293 words (6.6 pages)
- Light and Dark Imagery in Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad is a novel about a man named Marlow and his journey into the depths of the African Congo. Marlow is in search of a man named Kurtz, an ivory trader. Though Marlow?s physical journey seems rather simple, it takes him further into his own heart and soul than into the Congo. The setting, symbols and characters each contain light and dark images, these images shape the central theme of the novel.... [tags: Heart of Darkness Joseph Conrad]
588 words (1.7 pages)
- Joseph Conrad's "Heart of Darkness" Joseph Conrad's novel "Heart of Darkness" written in 1902 is an overwhelming chronicle of Marlow's journey into the heart of the African continent. It is one of the most influential novels of the twentieth century. In this ghastly and horrific tale, Marlow leads an expedition up the Congo River, only to find everything is not as it seems. This haunting and mysterious story takes him into the unbearable core of the jungle. The novel also explores trade and exploration, imperialism and colonization.... [tags: Heart Darkness Joseph Conrad Essays]
755 words (2.2 pages)
- 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.... [tags: Joseph Conrad Heart Darkness Essays]
892 words (2.5 pages)
- 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]
850 words (2.4 pages)
- Throughout his narrative in Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness, Charlie Marlow characterizes events, ideas, and locations that he encounters in terms of light or darkness. Embedded in Marlow's parlance is an ongoing metaphor equating light with knowledge and civility and darkness with mystery and savagery. When he begins his narrative, Marlow equates light and, therefore, civility, with reality, believing it to be a tangible expression of man's natural state. Similarly, Marlow uses darkness to depict savagery as a vice having absconded with nature.... [tags: Heart of Darkness Essays]
1946 words (5.6 pages)
- Light and Dark in Heart of Darkness Every story has a plot, but not every story has a deeper meaning. When viewed superficially, 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 warts as well as the wonderful. Conrad uses this theme of light and darkness to contrast the civilized European world with the savage African world in Heart of Darkness.... [tags: Heart Darkness essays]
731 words (2.1 pages)
- Light and Dark in Heart of Darkness The brightest of lights can obscure vision while darkness can contain truths: one must not be distracted by the sheen of light, which conceals the deeper reality present in darkness. Joseph Conrad's novel Heart of Darkness illustrates this idea with the use of several symbols. White Europeans are used as symbols of self-deception, and objects with an alabaster quality are symbols of barriers to inner truth. Black is the foil of white; it represents the inner truth beneath the white surface reality.... [tags: Heart Darkness essays]
1182 words (3.4 pages)
- Analysis of Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad When Joseph Conrad composed Heart of Darkness he created a literary masterpiece which embodied the essence of light contrasting with darkness. Throughout the novel Conrad constantly utilizes the images of light and dark and uses them to mold a vision, which the reader is then able to use to decipher the literal and metaphorical meanings of the novel. As Conrad said, “ my task which I am trying to achieve is, by the power of the written word to make you hear, to make you feel- it is, before all, to make you see.” (Crankshaw 34) In Heart of Darkness Conrad makes the reader “see” by absorbing into every aspect possible of the book images of lightn... [tags: Joseph Conrad Novels Literature Essays]
4388 words (12.5 pages)
- Light vs. Dark in Heart of Darkness The realism movement of the late nineteenth century produced works in literature that were marked by reduced sentimentality and increased objectivity. The goal was to let details tell the story, and remove noticeable bias of the author through scientific and detailed descriptions. While this form of storytelling undoubtedly is most accurate, it creates difficulties for authors to incorporate their themes into the story. This resulted in an increase in symbolism in realist works.... [tags: Heart Darkness Conrad Essays]
1272 words (3.6 pages)