Conrad’s Congo Journey

Conrad’s Congo Journey

Length: 798 words (2.3 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Excellent

Open Document

Essay Preview

More ↓
Conrad’s Congo Journey


Joseph Conrad’s own experiences during his trip through the Congo helped him provide a foundation for the writing of Heart of Darkness. In 1890, Conrad took a job as a captain on the river steamer Kinshasa. Before Conrad took this job, he had worked for the French merchant navy as a way to escape Russian military service and also to escape the emotional troubles that had plagued him. Conrad had been in a financial crisis that was resolved with help from his uncle. After this series of events, Conrad joined the British merchant navy at the beckoning of his uncle and took the job as the captain of a steamboat in the Congo River. An important fact to remember is that Conrad was a young and inexperienced man when he was exposed to the harsh and dangerous life of a sailor. His experiences in the West Indies and especially in the Belgium Congo were eye opening and facilitated his strong outlooks that are reflected in the book Heart of Darkness. Conrad’s journey through the Belgian Congo gave him the experiences and knowledge to write about a place that most Europeans would never see in their lives.

The diaries Conrad kept during his journey through the Congo gives detailed descriptions of the monotonous African landscape. Conrad wrote that the landscape of the African coast looked the same every single day.[1] This is reflected in Marlow’s narration of the jungle where shapes and forms cannot be made out clearly. The monotonous landscape differed from what Conrad had expected of this exotic location. When he was still a young kid, he had once boasted that he would someday journey to the heart of Africa. However, the actual journey was not at all what he expected it to be. Conrad was shocked at the men in the African colony. He was repulsed by the European colonizers because of the horrible treatment of the natives as well as the unlawful aggressive pursuit of loot. Conrad witnessed atrocities committed by the European colonizers, which helped to form his opinions on the colonization of Africa. In the novel, Conrad uses sarcasm to display his displeasure towards the European colonizers’ treatment of the natives. The Europeans in the book are called pilgrims and the natives are called cannibals, however the pilgrims are the ones who are much more willing to use force to resolve their problems.

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"Conrad’s Congo Journey." 123HelpMe.com. 14 Dec 2018
    <https://www.123helpme.com/view.asp?id=26491>.

Need Writing Help?

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

Check your paper »

Marlow Journey in the Congo in Heart of Darkness by Conrad Essay

- ... In order to better understand Marlow’s mental journey and how the challenges in the jungle changed him, it is necessary to inspect the mind through the method of psychoanalysis. There are three different types of psychoanalysis the id, ego, and superego. The id is the set of uncoordinated trends. The ego is realistic and organized, it moderates the id and the super ego. The superego the part of a persons’ personality that represents the conscience. Marlow begins his journey into Africa as a “superego”....   [tags: society, ego, id]

Research Papers
715 words (2 pages)

The Importance of Joseph Conrad’s Congo Journey Essay

- It was the year 1868. A young boy of about nine years of age stood looking at a map of Africa. The boy raised up his hand and stuck his finger directly into the middle of the “dark continent.” “When I grow up I shall go there,” said this boy with great enthusiasm (Conrad 13). Little did he know that some years later his childhood wish would come true. Joseph Conrad grew up to become quite the sailor, starting as an apprentice on a French vessel in 1875 and working his way to become a master of English ships from 1878-1889 (Jean-Aubrey 19)....   [tags: Biography Biographies Essays]

Research Papers
1493 words (4.3 pages)

A Journey from the Congo River to Europe in Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

- Heart of Darkness is a 146 page, adventure tale novella written by Joseph Conrad. This book can be found in our school library and many other libraries in the area. The novella is about a British sailor named Marlow, who recounts his journey from the Congo River to Europe. On his journey, Marlow meets a man named Kurtz and attempts to bring him back to Europe. Many complications such as attacks from the natives, sickness, and a boat repair set hardships on Marlow’s journey, developing the main character, the theme, and mood of the novella....   [tags: novella, africa, mood]

Research Papers
543 words (1.6 pages)

Essay on Heart Of Darkness By Joseph Conrad

- Joseph Conrad’s s book Heart of Darkness portrays an image of Africa that is dark and inhuman. Not only does he describe the actual, physical land of Africa as “so hopeless and so dark, so impenetrable to human thought, so pitiless to human weakness”, (Conrad 154) as though the continent could neither breed nor support any true human life. Conrad lived through a time when European colonies were spread all over the world. This event and the doctrine of colonialism bought into at his time obviously influenced his views at the time of Heart of Darkness publication....   [tags: Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness, Human]

Research Papers
1441 words (4.1 pages)

The Heart Of Darkness By Joseph Conrad Essay

- Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness is the story of a man’s journey deep into the Congo. The title, however, is unclear as to what or which “heart of darkness” he is moving towards. The man, Marlow, enters the center of the continent of Africa, often seen as a place of darkness in the light of European civilization. But soon he experiences the the fullest extent of human depravity and cruelty enacted on an innocent civilization for the accumulation of wealth. However, the heart of darkness that Marlow finds himself in may be less a metaphorical one and more of a metaphysical one....   [tags: Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness, Charles Marlow]

Research Papers
1116 words (3.2 pages)

Joseph Conrad 's Heart Of Darkness Essay

- Heart of Darkness The life of Joseph Conrad began on December 3, 1857, in the Polish Ukraine with the name Jozef Teodor Konrad Korzeniowski. At a young age, Conrad’s father was exiled to Siberia after being thought to have plotted against the Russian government. After the passing away of his mother, Conrad was sent to live with his uncle in Krakow. Conrad never saw his father again. He worked as a seaman on English ships, and in 1880 became an officer in the British merchant service. Conrad was naturalized as a British citizen in 1886....   [tags: Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness, Congo Free State]

Research Papers
1304 words (3.7 pages)

Essay Misnomer : Civilized Savages By Joseph Conrad

- 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)....   [tags: Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad, Congo Free State]

Research Papers
1617 words (4.6 pages)

Role of Women in Conrad's Heart of Darkness Essay

- Women do not play an important part in Heart of Darkness. This is not too surprising as the text was first published for a magazine in 1898. Throughout Marlow's voyage he encounters few women and he does not consider any of them to be his equal. His reference to women places them in their own little world where they should remain. There are a number of reasons as to why Marlow may have this understanding of the female being. These reasons include, but are not limited to, the lack of females in his life, the fact that he is primarily surrounded by men, and the type of women he comes in contact with in his line of work....   [tags: Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness]

Free Essays
876 words (2.5 pages)

Darkness, Ambiguity, and Destruction in Joseph Conrad´s Heart of Darkness

- Joseph Conrad’s novel, Heart of Darkness, is told in a narrative frame, which is one of the contributions to the complexity of the novel. Conrad employs an unknown narrator who tells the outside picture and Marlo, who tells the inside picture of the novel. Marlow narrates the darkness of the novel as he ventures of into the Congo River as an employee for “The Company” where he collects ivory and meets Kurtz. Upon Marlo’s adventure Conrad employs an extension of incredibly ambiguous, as well as blatantly obvious symbols....   [tags: Congo, symbols, colonization]

Research Papers
799 words (2.3 pages)

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

- 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]

Research Papers
588 words (1.7 pages)

Related Searches

Conrad’s own experiences with the colonizers and natives must have had an effect on the way he portrays these people in his novel. Conrad’s racism is also present in his representation of the natives in his diaries. “In the evening 3 women… features very Negroid and ugly.”[2] The characteristics of the landscape and people in the novel are portrayed the way Conrad experienced the Belgian Congo in the 1890’s. His strong feelings towards the both the colonizers and natives are reflected through his own experiences in the jungle.

Conrad’s experience in the Belgian Congo also included suffering from a serious fever and dysentery. The sickness and suffering that he experienced are reflected in Heart of Darkness. Marlow suffers from sickness at the end of the novel and reaches Europe as a different man than before. Conrad’s own experiences in the Belgian Congo suggest that the Congo weakened his health and outlook on imperialism in general. The harsh conditions of his journey and the horrors committed by the colonizers remained with Conrad. The novel reflects many of the experiences Conrad experienced in Africa and provided an outlet for the emotions he felt during this process.

Sources Cited

Irene Navarro Berlanga. Conrad’s Biography. University of Valencia. 29 September 2002 http://mural.uv.es/inaber/biography.htm>.
This website was written by an english student at the University of Valencia. The website provides a biography of Joseph Conrad and focuses on the problems Conrad went through in order to become a successful writer. There are also links to the author’s other works regarding the novel Heart of Darkness.

Conrad Bibliographical Information. Lemoyne University. 29 September 2002 http://wwwdev.lemoyne.edu/english/conrad.htm>.
This website is a quick biography for a Lemoyne University course dealing with Conrad and Heart of Darkness. This page provides some comparisons between Conrad’s own experiences with how Marlow describes his journey to the Belgian Congo in the novel. This page is a good site for a look at Conrad’s life as well as it’s importance to the writing of the novel.

Joseph Conrad. Biography and complete works. Booksfactory. 29 September 2002
http://www.booksfactory.com/writers/conrad.htm>.
This website is a biography of Joseph Conrad done by the Booksfactory. This page provides some information about his family background and gives a list of some selected works that Joseph Conrad produced.


[1] Conrad Biographical Information. Lemoyne University. 29 September 2002 <http://wwwdev.lemoyne.edu/english/conrad.htm>.

[2] Joseph Conrad. Heart of Darkness. New York: The Modern Library, 1999.
Return to 123HelpMe.com