. Explore the Idea of Darkness Throughout Heart of Darkness

Topics: Sun, Africa, Light Pages: 3 (872 words) Published: November 12, 2011
Darkness can be defined as the partial or total absence of light, which may be translated into the inability to see. However simple this may sound, when applied to a human condition this has profound implications. It implies failing to see another human being, failing to understand them as an individual, and furthermore failing to establish any sort of sympathetic connection with him or her. Many critics have commented on the fact that Heart of Darkness proves Joseph Conrad to be a racist, in the means in which he displays the indigenous population of Africa. Furthermore, Achebe too has stated in his speech that the environment of Africa is used for the sole purpose of bringing out a vestigial darkness from the European character of Kurtz, thus demeaning Africa into a corrupt and hostile location.

Many forms of darkness are thus present throughout the novel from the very title to the atmosphere described in Marlow’s narrative. The title Heart of darkness not only refers to a physical location inside Africa, but also to a state of mind and the grim consequences of imperialism. The text considers the deep jungle of Africa as the heart of darkness both for its untamed and hostile wilderness and for its supposed "savages" – the black native Africans – who reside there, practicing certain non-European customs such as cannibalism. Also present are a few corollaries to darkness. The fog being a major one. “When the sun rose there was a white fog, very warm and clammy, and more blinding than the night.” It is stated in the quote that the fog is more blinding than the night – which is the darkness in this context. Because of the fogs obscurity, it may be implied that it gives enough information to begin making decisions but no means to judge the accuracy of that information. Marlow’s steamer is caught in the fog, meaning that he has no idea where he’s going and no idea whether peril or open water lies ahead of him. “You looked on amazed and began to suspect yourself...
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