Symbols in Heart of Darkness

Topics: Joseph Conrad, Linguistics, Fiction Pages: 2 (399 words) Published: February 25, 2014
British Literature and Composition
Period 4
Heart of Darkness
Joseph Conrad wrote Heart of Darkness in 1899. The book was mildly difficult to understand, especially because Conrad’s native language was not English. If you went into this book blindly, and just read, searching for nothing, I can almost guarantee you would not understand it. But, if you take a closer look, you can see the underlying meanings and symbolisms he has partially hidden everywhere.

Joseph Conrad’s double-meanings and symbolisms could be classified under Existentialism and Expressionism. Though they are different, they both play a part in contributing to Conrad’s story. Existentialism is more of a theory, while Expressionism is more of a style of art, writing, etc. Existentialism, in this literary work, is interpreted as a philosophical viewpoint that the main character, in this case Marlow, has about their responsibility to make their own choices. Expressionism, in this literary work, is interpreted as almost like looking through the eyes of a certain character (in this case the main character, Marlow), to see their viewpoint of the events of the story. If you know these two terms and their meanings before you start reading, you can see how they relate to the story.

Heart of Darkness can be associated with Expressionism because there is a heavy use of symbols and symbolisms. If you are just reading and you are not focusing on trying to find a deeper meaning, many of the events in the book may seem very strange to you. One symbol used by Conrad is fog. Fog was important because it represented darkness, and the unknown and obscured or distorted things that wait behind it; and often, the impulsive decisions made with little accuracy or knowledge about how they’ll turn out. Marlow’s boat gets caught in the fog, which is another symbol of the darkness that lies ahead, or being disoriented/lost. This quote is from chapter 2 describes the symbolic use of fog very well: Not...
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