How Does Conrad Link His Physical Exploration to a Psychological Journey of Discovery?

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The “Heart of Darkness” is a tale of passage and discovery, not only into the heart of Africa, but into the heart of our human mind. Written by Joseph Conrad, this novel follows Marlow’s expedition into the unknown depths of the Congo in search of Kurtz and his adored wisdom. Conrad links Marlow’s physical journey to a psychological quest of discovery into evil and darkness inside each one of us. Through the impassable landscape, the language barrier between the colonists and the natives, and embodiment of Kurtz this idea is portrayed. We are given a glimpse of what mankind is capable of, how destructive and hostile we can be. But the question this novel probes at is to what length can we restrain ourselves from revealing our inner darkness? The significant background of this text is that eight years prior to writing this book, Joseph Conrad had served as the captain of a Congo steamer. His life-changing experiences on his voyage into the Congo shaped the pages of this book. He has lived and experienced all that Marlow has, and therefore puts more validity into his meaningful words. The pages of this book echo the thoughts and truths of Conrad and express not only a fictional journey, but a factual discovery. The third person narrative technique, within Marlow’s first person narration of the story, separates the audience from the truth and demonstrates the ef fect the Heart of Darkness has not only on Marlow, but soon the audience as well. One technique which demonstrates the clear contrast between the colonists and the natives is language. Through the two distinct means of communication a barrier is placed between the two sides. The colonists place a condemnatory prejudice on the African people, labelling them as “barbaric savages”. But the reality is that we, the audience as well as the colonists do not fully understand their culture and way of life and therefore cannot make sense of their speech and behaviour. The way they look, dress, speak, behave are so...
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