Top-Rated Free Essay

Heart of Darkness

Good Essays
Heart of Darkness Irony of situation plays a major role in the shaping of events in the novel Heart of Darkness. For instance Joseph Conrad does not use light as a symbol for bringing knowledge and truth to a situation; rather he uses light as an indication of a hidden truth. These occurrences include “There was no joy in the brilliance of sunshine. The long stretches of waterway ran on, deserted, into the gloom of overshadowed distances. (Conrad 30)” This shows the feelings that Marlow is having towards the setting of the jungle. Even though they are venturing further into the jungle and down the river Marlow doesn’t feel any more self assured on his feelings about Kurtz or the company. Since he feels that his future is unclear he is undecided on which side he should be on. “When Marlow is eavesdropping on his ship he hears the manager speaking with his uncle. The discussion that he hears is that the two of them have a plot to get rid of Kurtz. (Conrad 28)” This makes Marlow feel even more isolated from the European men and he is not sure who he wants to side with. Ironically Marlow feels that he wants to side with Kurtz and the cannibals than his fellow European employers. The “Eldorado Exploring Expedition” that is mentioned by the manager’s uncle is an ironic symbol in the story of itself. Eldorado was historically known as a city of gold and it was never found so it was concluded that it was only myth and never existed. This is interesting because it shows that the whites were willing to risk everything to get the ivory. Just as many explorers risked everything to try to find the city of Eldorado. Often times Europeans are portrayed as being superior to the African natives. Heart of Darkness shows a good bit of irony in that the cannibals are more civilized than the European leaders. “Don’t you know the devilry of lingering starvation, its exasperating torment, its somber and brooding ferocity? Well I do. It takes a man all of his inborn strength to fight hunger properly. (Conrad 38)” At this point Marlow is extremely impressed by the restraint of the cannibals. Even though they are starving they still get their objectives on the steamboat completed. Normally the cannibals would be depicted as having very primitive qualities, but they are more advanced than the Europeans. It is very ironic that while the African natives have an external darkness; while the colonizers have an internal darkness. Traditionally light means knowledge truth and civilization. Darkness has typically been associated with evil, ignorance, blindness, or that something is uncivilized. Many different individuals associate darkness with racism and to a certain degree Marlow is racist in this novel. The opposition of light and darkness shows the irony of imperialism in this novel. The sophistication of societies is an element that Joseph Conrad used to show a contrast between the Europeans and the natives of the Congo. Marlow has an epiphany about what civilized means to him when he meets with Kurtz and sees everything that he has done. Marlow questions whether or not all of the sacrifices that take place for imperialism to occur are worth a greater truth. Are the evils of colonialism excusable for a greater truth? This is a question that needs to be considered in order to have benefits for our world in the future. Work Cited Page Conrad, Joseph. Heart of Darkness. New York: Dover Publications, Inc., 1990. (28, 30, 38)

Cited: Page Conrad, Joseph. Heart of Darkness. New York: Dover Publications, Inc., 1990. (28, 30, 38)

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Better Essays

    Heart of darkness

    • 1163 Words
    • 5 Pages

    we still study Heart of Darkness? Heart of Darkness is a novella written by Joseph Conrad in 1899. It is still studied today as it is considered an exemplary moral text. It explores complex moral issues which are challenging for contemporary youths and demonstrates the effect that isolation can have on a person. Also, it reveals the nature of colonialism in Africa in the late nineteenth century making it significant from a historical and political perspective. Heart of Darkness is studied for…

    • 1163 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Better Essays
  • Better Essays

    heart of darkness

    • 1580 Words
    • 5 Pages

    Duţă Professor Dr. Carmen-Adina Ciugureanu/ Lecturer Dr. Florian Andrei Vlad Romanian-English, Second Year 13 May 2014 Notes on the title of Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness It makes good sense to suggest that a title is conventionally chosen to represent the main idea of a novella, to correlate with a theme or motif. Heart of Darkness is no exception. Published in 1902, the novella illustrates the mentality and the culture of the white people at that time. They were confident in themselves and…

    • 1580 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Better Essays
  • Better Essays

    Heart of Darkness

    • 1423 Words
    • 6 Pages

    he must distinguish which parts of the text are coherent in his adaptation of the novella and the audience’s reaction to it. Coppola chose to retain the main themes of Heart of Darkness. The criticizing and mocking of imperialism was a prevalent theme that surfaced throughout Apocalypse Now. For instance in Heart of darkness, Marlow exemplifies the basis of imperialism. "The conquest of the earth, which mostly means the taking it away from those who have a different complexion or slightly flatter…

    • 1423 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Better Essays
  • Good Essays

    The heart of darkness

    • 818 Words
    • 4 Pages

    The heart of darkness The Nigerian writer Chinua Achebe has claimed that Heart of Darkness is an “offensive and deplorable book” that “set[s] Africa up as a foil to Europe, as a place of negations at once remote and vaguely familiar, in comparison with which Europe’s own state of spiritual grace will be manifest.” Achebe says that Conrad does not provide enough of an outside frame of reference to enable the novel to be read as ironic or critical of imperialism. Based on the evidence in the text…

    • 818 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Heart of Darkness

    • 357 Words
    • 2 Pages

    It has been speculated that Joseph Conrad, author of the novella Heart of Darkness, was a racist. Heart of Darkness takes place in Africa, in the late nineteenth century. The main character is Marlow, a Caucasian man from Belgium who is sent to work for an ivory company in Africa. Conrad depicts Marlow as a moderate man working for this company. The language and tone that Conrad uses to depict the native Africans in Heart of Darkness makes it clear that Joseph Conrad was, in fact, a racist. Conrad…

    • 357 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Powerful Essays

    Heart of Darkness

    • 1062 Words
    • 5 Pages

    Juxtaposition is one of the many literary element used in emphasis of a concept or an idea. In the novel Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad juxtaposes the motifs of light and dark to emphasize the wickedness present throughout the book. Through juxtaposition, Conrad not only emphasizes the darkness in Africa but also intensifies the dark hearts of the Europeans. The major darkness in the novel is the land of Africa itself. When Marlow first makes his way upstream with his crew, he describes the…

    • 1062 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Powerful Essays
  • Good Essays

    Heart Of Darkness

    • 397 Words
    • 1 Page

    and ends at night. The "heart of darkness" may refer to the heart of "darkest Africa". The heart of darkness takes place along the Congo River. At this time, it was pretty much unmapped territory. Here the white "pilgrims" and colonizers lost themselves in the mythic chaos of the jungle. This was a place where the heart of darkness was, where guys like Kurtz lost their minds in the darkness of "savagery". Still there is another larger theme. The setting may personify the hearts of the white people themselves…

    • 397 Words
    • 1 Page
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Heart of Darkness

    • 578 Words
    • 3 Pages

    Throughout the novel Heart of Darkness Conrad uses the motif of the heart to thoroughly explain how dark people and places really can be. Conrad uses the heart as a symbol for the entire continent of Africa. The heart is also used to show what the heart of mankind truly is. Another use of the heart is as a representation of the inner station, which shows the darkness of exploitations through Kurtz. The different uses of the heart are amplified through such literary devices as irony, imagery, and…

    • 578 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Heart of Darkness

    • 1709 Words
    • 7 Pages

    The immortality and blindness to a dark continent Joseph Conrad’s s novel “Heart of Darkness” portrays an image of Africa that is dark and inhuman. Not only does he describe the actual, physical continent of Africa as “so hopeless and so dark, so impenetrable to human thought, so pitiless to human weakness”, (Conrad 2180) as though the continent could neither breed nor support any true human life. Conrad lived through a time when European colonies were scattered all over the world. This phenomenon…

    • 1709 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Heart of Darkness

    • 765 Words
    • 4 Pages

    Heart of Darkness Journal #1 Heart of Darkness had brought up numerous amount of discussions to the reader 's attention. The historical content of the novel released the questioning of the motives that fueled European imperialism and how Joseph Conrad characterized it within his writing. Conrad presented a basically naturalistic worldview in Heart of Darkness, but he did not answer all the questions through his novel, with reading the novel readers begin to question human life and the nature…

    • 765 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays