Light And Dark Imagery Essay Research Paper

Light And Dark Imagery Essay, Research Paper

People, who need to illustrate things in literature so that others will comprehend them more easily, use imagery, as imagery helps to convey sincere meaning. In the novel Heart of Darkness and the movie Apocalypse Now, there is a real contrast among what is light and what is dark. The light and dark contrast shows us easily about the savagery that takes place in the jungle; the darkness of the people and the sight, which both they and we see. The civilization both in and out of the jungle is easy to see using the imagery as well. People outside the jungle are more certain of things than the people in the jungle. The last detail that Conrad and Coppolla used was the use of the imagery to show the evil and good in people and things. Imagery can be used for various different, true meanings to better demonstrate for the readers and visual learners.

Imagery in the novel easily shows us the savagery in the jungle. The ultimate contrast of light and dark occurs with the death of Kurtz on the boat after he is saved and being brought back down. “The brown current (that) ran swiftly out of the heart of darkness ” (Conrad, page 115) This quote is the ultimate description of the savagery and death of the Congo. With their escape and these words comes the title of the book, Heart of Darkness. Marlow then encounters “black heads” on Kurtz’s fence. These once again represent the idea of savagery with the colour black. He also describes them as “black, dried, sunken, with closed eyelids.” (Conrad, page 88) This is once again a representation of darkness with colours being associated with all that is ugly, bad and uncivilized. When Marlow arrives at the Belgian company’s office he notices that there were women who were knitting black wool. (Conrad, page 14) The black wool represents death and savagery, which is a symbol of what is to come. When savagery takes place anywhere in the world, civilization is at a low. The novel and the movie both demonstrate this.

In the novel and in the movie, civilization plays a big part in the imagery. When Marlow finally reaches the camp where Kurtz is to be located, he finds a reality that is not civilized. The first sign he encounters is the broken roof on Kurtz’s house. It has a “black hole”. (Conrad, page 88) This is a sign of being uncivilized. At first the hole may be seen as simply representing living in the wild, but Marlow refers to it as a black hole, a black hole represents the unknown, the unconquered, and therefore the uncivilized.

While Marlow is exploring the outer post, he comes across many disturbing things that are excellent examples of civilized and uncivilized representations. While wandering around, he runs across a work camp. He describes the people working as “people who have withdrawn form the work camps in order to die.” Marlow also calls these people “black shadows of disease and starvation”. This quote reinforces the idea that blacks and the dark images they project are uncivilized and nothing to be wishing for. While having an absence of civilization, people run across the differences between good and evil.

In the movie, Apocalypse Now and the novel Heart of Darkness, both Conrad and Coppolla utilize light and darkness to represent the good and evil in things. When Marlow sees the workers working at the camp in the novel, he says that they are “half affected within the dim light. As the workers retreat into the light to die from the dark caves, they feel relief from their pain.” This opinion supports that the darkness is evil and when the workers come into the light, which is good, they will feel no evil about them.

“He wasn’t a bad officer, I guess. He loved his boys and they felt safe with him. He was one of those guys that had that weird light around him. You just knew he wasn’t gonna get so much as a scratch here.”(Willard)

This quotation is from the film. In relation to imagery, the meaning of this quote is that the people weren’t really sure of Kurtz and didn’t know much about him. In the film, whenever Captain Willard looked through the files of Kurtz, the lights didn’t shine on the whole document or on the whole picture of Kurtz. Also, when Willard finally got to Kurtz’s station, when he entered and saw Kurtz, for the first few minutes only half of Kurtz’s face appeared at a time. This shows that Kurtz is, in a way, uncivilized because the whole truth or understanding is not shown. In the novel, Marlow was talking about his remarks regarding the river. Marlow then goes on to say that “the river was there-fascinating-deadly-like a snake”. This reference also creates a dark image, which in turn establishes an evil connotation. The snake is also a symbol of evil. This reference has its roots in the Bible when the snake, or serpent, entices Eve to eat the forbidden fruit. Good and evil can be demonstrated very effectively by using imagery.

In conclusion, we can use light and dark imagery to demonstrate a better understanding of what is meant when we write. Conrad and Coppolla used light and dark imagery mainly to show us the savagery that was going on in the jungle by making the colours and backgrounds dark. Also, they used the imagery to explain the civilization out of the jungle and the absence of civilization in it. They showed this by not making things appear easy and made us be sure that people in the jungle really didn’t understand everything that was going on. Finally, Conrad and Coppolla used the imagery to show us the good and the evil in things and people.


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