Instructor name Date Heart of Darkness A major theme in Joseph Conrad’s book Heart of Darkness is the struggle between dark and light when it comes to the souls of men and the relative merits of imperialism. The story is told by an aging sailor who was once commissioned to sail the Congo in search of a Company man organizing the imperialistic efforts being conducted there…
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In making his comments upon London at the beginning of the book, Marlow illustrates the lesson he learned in the jungle, that the social impression of imperialism as an illuminating force for good brought to the desperate primitive peoples was a lie based on false cultural beliefs. He does this by reflecting out loud about the history of London and how it parallels in many ways the current history of Africa by questioning the difference between civilized and savage. It is obvious to the other men sitting on the deck that the concept of light as it is applied to men refers to the 'enlightened' or advanced culture. The narrator makes this clear as he talks about the rich history of the Thames and the glorious characters of those who have traveled on it. "They had all gone out on that stream, bearing the sword, and often the torch, messengers of the might within the land, bearers of a spark from the sacred fire. What greatness had not floated on the ebb of that river into the mystery of an unknown earth! ... The dreams of men, the seed of commonwealth, the germs of empires" (Conrad, 3). These are all presented as positive elements or a kindness bestowed on those less fortunate. The splendor that was England would be graciously shared with the lazy, unintelligent brutes of the dark places without any consideration as to where that wealth was coming from. It is clear from the way the narrator describes things that he considers England to have always enjoyed such a privileged and recognized status. Only one of these men, Marlow, seems to see things differently, describing London in terms that make it sound very much like their present conceptions of the darkness or uncivilized nature of Africa. It is just as the narrator is winding down about the greatness of the civilization that lives on the banks of this river that Marlow interrupts everyone's thoughts with the sudden and cryptic statement used as epigraph above: "And this also ... has been one of the dark places of the earth" (2). In this passage, Marlow talks about the area of London as it was when the Roman soldiers found it. Although there was already a flourishing society at work on the island, as there were several flourishing societies found in Africa as European explorers pushed deeper and deeper into the forests, the Romans felt themselves engulfed by the same kind of darkness being experienced in Africa. “Sand-banks, marshes, forests, savages – precious little to eat fit for a civilized man, nothing but Thames water to drink. … Here and there a military camp lost in a wilderness, like a needle in a bundle of hay – cold, fog, tempests, disease, exile, and death – death skulking in the air, in the water, in the bush. They must have been dying like flies here” (Conrad, 4). The darkness he describes for the Romans entails much more than the simple change in geography and weather from their Mediterranean home and sounds very much like how the Europeans thought of the men they found in Africa at that time - savages who have nothing decent to eat or drink, strange illnesses, difficult or impossible terrains. Marlow's reflection on the Romans also draws parallels between the ancient Romans and the contemporary British as bringers of light to the dark places
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(“Heart of Darkness Essay Example | Topics and Well Written Essays - 1000 words”, n.d.)
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(Heart of Darkness Essay Example | Topics and Well Written Essays - 1000 Words)
“Heart of Darkness Essay Example | Topics and Well Written Essays - 1000 Words”, n.d. https://studentshare.org/environmental-studies/1409590-heart-of-darkness.
He conquered Congo, because of its natural resources, especially rubber and ivory. This story focuses on the slave trade and the oppressive conditions in Congo. Marlow’s mission is to bring back Kurtz, a company employee, who failed to come back. Marlow’s journey to the Inner Station exposed realities about the evils of European imperialism and humanity.
The university is after all wild and it is believable that such a forest could have escaped my eyes earlier. I wasn’t scared to enter it since I was fond of adventures. I set foot into it and immediately began to feel warm all over; I began to feel unpleasant and would have left if it hadn’t been for the dwarf who greeted me.
The novel describes the wilderness in Congo, the cruel treatment of the African natives by the Europeans and in turn showcases the act of evil committed by the human beings. The novel is written in the narrative form through the words of the central character of the story, Charles Marlow.
Conrad wrote this novel in 1890s during the time when European placed the darkest sites of the world under their control. Europeans scrambled and stretched their powers outside their continent to far parts of Africa. This novel provides an account of European imperial activities in Congo.
Thus, it seems that Joseph Conrad’s work gives the readers a chance to identify how European ideals are darker than the African ones as the work is, in some way, a comparison of both. The novella takes place in Congo. The work is in the form of a narration by Marlow from a barge on Thames.
He searched for Kurtz and encountered a man who took him to a realization that he never expected. The novel depicts imperialism in complex ways. Perhaps the clearest illustration of imperialism was when Marlow reached the outer station. Surrounded by slave workers, with large holes filled with broken machines around him, he said that “imperialism is really composed of the bodies he had seen”.
Marlow initially sees Kurtz as a mad man. He realizes that when in the presence of boundless temptations, any man could go a little mad. He sees the very extremes of madness in Kurtz, the man who couldn't hold on to his soul when a chance for its corruption presented itself.
Conrad does not merely decry the excesses of King Leopold II in the Congo, as a more traditional writer might have done (and as indeed many did), but singled out colonialism as subversive of Western identity, as incompatible with and destructive of the ideals upon the West was founded.