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Analysis Of Conrad's Heart Of Darkness

1146 words - 5 pages

How Does the Use of Description and Metaphorical Devices Create the Theme in Heart of Darkness?
Mankind’s sanity, morality, and reality all serve as key elements in justifying the way society lives and acts; when those three pillars are turned upside into a hazy, grey picture the boundaries and constraints in which humankind lives become limitless. This terrifying abyss of a land enables ruthless behavior, insensitivity, and moral doubt amongst the land’s inhabitants. Joseph Conrad successfully creates this horrific image within every reader’s mind in his novel, Heart of Darkness. His unerring ability to describe every detail of the human exploration of a grotesque, immoral African river ...view middle of the document...

Once Joseph was old enough, he traveled to Marseilles, France working as a seaman for several years. After he attempted suicide the French did not take him back, so Joseph worked under the English ship, “Mavis,” (Merriman). It was under the English that Joseph traveled to the Congo River in Africa. This voyage shaped his literary career because, “In 1890 Conrad at last plunged into the ‘dark continent’ and wrote his ‘Congo Diary’ that would later become Heart of Darkness,” (Merriman).
Conrad’s novel, Heart of Darkness, portrays a man’s harrowing journey on a steamboat into the immortal depths of the African jungles surrounding the Congo River. The story originates from Joseph Conrad’s diary entries, but the character, Marlow, tells the story and experiences the journey. Marlow travels to Africa to join a Belgian trading company in hopes to meet Mr. Kurtz. Marlow spends several months waiting in Africa due to his steamboat sinking. He experiences the darkness of the area, and his anticipation to meet Kurtz builds. Finally, Marlow travels up the Congo River, steering the steamboat for the Company. The general manager and other pilgrims unjustly treat the native workers, and the entire ship encounters an attack while traveling the river. Marlow finally reaches Kurtz’s station, where the idealized Kurtz has befriended all the savages. Kurtz, being on his deathbed, must be taken home, but he has become a sort of deity amongst the savages. Therefore, he does not want to leave behind his people, and his ivory. Marlow persuades Kurtz onboard, and they leave the natives behind. Kurtz becomes a sort of idol in Marlow’s mind at this point, but Kurtz dies on the journey home, leaving Marlow with the general manager. Marlow returns to Europe and meets with Kurtz’s fiance to give her letters from Kurtz. Marlow realizes Kurtz’s various roles in many people’s lives, which weakens Marlow’s bond with him (Conrad).
Marlow’s journey through the depths of jungles portrays a man facing constant internal uncertainty, which causes human fright and moral bewilderment. The theme of terror and darkness prevails throughout the novel, especially when taking Marlow’s personal experience into account. His voyage is unlike any other journey taken by man, and Marlow states, “The earth seemed unearthly. We are accustomed to look upon the shackled form of a conquered monster, but there-there you could look at a thing monstrous and free,” (Conrad 97). The prevailing...

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