Heart Of Darkness By Conrad Essay Research

Heart Of Darkness By Conrad Essay, Research Paper

Heart of Darkness, written by Joseph Conrad, holds thematically a wide range of

references to problems of politics, morality and social order. It was written in

a period when European exploitation of Africa was at a gruesome height. Conrad

uses double oblique narration. A flame narrator reports the story as told by

Marlow, assigned to the command of a river steamboat scheduled to transport an

exploring expedition. Kurtz is a first-agent at an important trading post of

ivory, located in the interior of the Congo. Both Marlow and Kertz found the

reality through their work in Africa. Marlow felt great indignation with people

in the sepulchral city after his journey to the Congo region because he

discovered, through his work, the reality of the universe, such as the great

virtue of efficiency, the darkness in society and individuals and the surface

reality. When Kurtz found himself on his deathbed and he said ЃgThe

horror, The horror referring to his life in inner Africa, which caused him

disintegration. Marlow emphasized the virtue of ЃgefficiencyЃh

throughout the story because he thought of it as the only way to survive in the

wilderness. After seeing the dying natives in the forest of the outer station,

Marlow described them as Ѓginefficient.Ѓh Under Ѓgthe devotion

to efficiency,Ѓh incompetent people were excluded from society. Only

efficient people can survive. For example, since Kurtz was the most efficient

agent, with regards to producing ivory, his employers respected his achievement

and regarded him as an essential person. However, once he fell into

disintegration, he was considered no more the than dying natives and thus was

treated as if he were dead. He was then buried in the darkness. The symbol of

inefficiency was the color green. Marlow illustrated a picture of dying natives,

when he said, Ѓg[They were] black shadows of disease and starvation lying

confusedly in the greenish gloomЃh(20). Another example of inefficiency is

shown in the description of the body of MarlowЃfs predecessor as ЃgThe

grass growing through his ribs was tall enough to hide his bonesЃh(13).

Marlow realized the real darkness did not existed in Africa but in Europe, and

not in Africans but in Europeans who engaged in colonial exploitation, including

Kurtz. Due to the nativesЃf physical features and customs like

cannibalism, Marlow defined Africans as the darkness. On the other hand, he

considered Europeans as the light because of his illusions of civilization.

After witnessing the evil practices of the colonizers in the Congo, Marlow

discovered the moral darkness in whites. European invaders in Africa dehumanized

natives under the name of enlightenment for the sake of profit. They practiced

no moral laws and inflicted callous and barbaric cruelty on indigenous people.

MarlowЃfs description of the CompanyЃfs offices in Paris revealed

his discovery: A narrow and deserted street in deep shadow, high houses,

innumerable windows with venetian blinds, a dead silence, grass sprouting

between the stones, imposing carriage archways right and left, immense double

doors standing ponderously ajarЃh(13). Moreover, the older woman at the

offices was like a gatekeeper of ЃgDarkness.Ѓh These descriptions

indicated that the real darkness was in greedy whites, who were without moral

sense, thus dark-skinned natives were victims of darkness of whites. Through his

work in the Congo, Marlow found only Ѓgsurface truths,Ѓh which had

been adulterated and concealed by European culture, not core truths. The reason

why Ѓgthe meaning of episode [for him is] not inside like a kernel but

outsideЃh(9) was that MarlowЃfs viewpoint was trapped in these

surface truths. He could not touch the inside of the kernel because he did not

go deep enough. Furthermore, he just watched and judged things from the outside.

Marlow expressed, Ѓhtruth stripped of its cloak of time Ѓc -the man

knows and can look on without a wink. But he must meet at least be as much as of

a man as these on the shore. He must meet that truth with his own true

stuff-with his own inborn strengthЃh(38). Not only did he have a fear of

natives, but also he refused to be like them. Since natives were, for Marlow,

savage and mean-spirited fellows, he would not debase himself. Marlow used work

as a pretext. Mowever, he acquired Ѓgsurface truthsЃh in the Congo

region by handling the steamboat in the Ѓgfiendish row.Ѓh On the

other hand, Kurts went to natives and found the heart of darkness in him, which

was the primal reality of a deeper region of his mind. Kurtz brought moral ideas

to the wilderness. He said early in his work, ЃgEach station should be

like a beacon on the road towards better things, a center for trade of course

but also for humanizing, improving, instructingЃh(34). However, he found

immorality of Europeans in Africa. Moral ideas, which formed KurtzЃfs

identity, were destroyed. He lost his personality and rejected his humanity and

the materialism of the West. Shoes symbolized Western civilization: Kurtz used a

shoelace to tie letters together. It showed that Kurtz renounced things related

to the West. As a result, he became egoistic and ivory-obsessed. In addition,

his life became meaningless and empty. Being hollow at his core, Kurtz was

fascinated by Ѓgthe heavy mute spell of the wilderness that seemed to draw

him to its pitiless breast by the awakening of forgotten and brutal instincts by

the memory of gratified and monstrous passion(65). The wilderness has power to

turn KurtzЃfs heart black. Kertz made a pact with diabolic forces, which

lurk within the jungle and then became depraved and deranged. Although he could

not be totally evil, he massacred indigenous people and stole ivory from them

without restraint. He alternated between being evil and struggling his former

idealism. On his deathbed, Kurtz realized what he did to natives and himself and

found himself as an incarnate of greed that lacked self-restraint. Hence, Kurtz

cried ЃgThe horror, The horror.Ѓh The ЃgdarknessЃh of

this novelЃfs title refers to many kind of darkness: moral corruption,

ignorance, savagery. In the heart of darkness in Africa, Marlow found the sordid

exploitation of arrogance Europeans. They were not only mere avaricious but

inefficient people in the jungle. Marlow did not find truths, the darkness in

him, whereas Kurtz discovered it. Although the discovery of such reality was

Ѓgpaid for by innumerable defeats, by abominable terrors, by abominable

satisfactions(70), as Marlow said. Kurts personified the evil latent in man.

Under immorality and the demonic force circumstances, the darkness of oneЃfs

mind can be unleashed.


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