Heart of Darkness
Catherine, Kaneesha, Quintessa, Kamiya, Jessica
As Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu once said, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” A journey has the power to change a person in many ways; it can help a person discover who they truly are. Marlow’s journey was anticipated, but what he did not know is that his journey was going to lead him to his own self realization. In “The Heart of Darkness” by Joseph Conrad, Marlow's journey changes him; he develops a new perspective of the world, and has a deep fundamental change in heart.
In “The Heart of Darkness” the darkness stands for the jungle, the unknown, and the nature of man. As Marlow began his journey he first learned how to approach man. “We must appear to them in the nature of supernatural beings.” You approach a man like you are above the man in order to gain respect. All the men of the world strive for power and respect, although people come from many different places and backgrounds, they all possess that common ground. Marlow admired Kurtz for the man he was, but at the same time he envied him for the way he handled his power and the way he treated people. Marlow makes a stand, “but I have a voice too, and for good or evil mine is the speech that cannot be silenced.” Marlow has had enough of living his journey in the shadow or Kurtz, and he appreciates the freedom of speech that the world brings with out being controlled and overruled by one man. Marlow sees things and learns that there is so much bad in the world that people do not know about. “And this is also”, said Marlow suddenly, “has been one of the dark places on earth.” The things he encounters makes Marlow appreciate more all of the beauty that the world has to offer. He no longer views the world as something we deserve, it is not a right of mankind to live in peace and harmony, it is a privilege that we should never take for granted.
Throughout the novel Marlow learns more about the world around him than he ever thought possible, this new knowledge changes him to the core. “It gave me notion of an exotic immensity ruled by an august benevolence.” Kurtz words deeply move Marlow and he listens and learns from everything that Marlow says. Marlow’s new change in heart has led him to try and always look on the bright side of things. “The pulsating stream of light, or the deceitful flow from the heart of an impenetrable darkness.” Marlow saw that there was hope in the darkness, he is referring to the literal heart of darkness being the jungle, and the theoretical darkness being in his heart. The light represents light in the physical literal sense, and it represents hope theoretically. When a person has spent too much time in the darkness it changes them. “I was not shocked...it was really nothing but a movement of surprise.” At this point Marlow has learned to accept fate. He realizes that everyone’s fate is eventually death, therefore he has grown immune to the terrors in the heart of darkness. “To surrender personally all that remained of him with me to that oblivion is the last word of our common fate.” It was crucial that Marlow learn to accept fate in order to find true happiness, in this statement Marlow is describing his desire to resign peacefully into the past.Joseph Conrad uniquely describes Marlow’s physical and internal journey into the heart of darkness. Marlow’s new perspective of the world and change in heart has taught him a great deal of life lessons. The end of the journey results in Marlow’s acceptance of fate and new outlook on the world.
In Heart of Darkness, the “darkness” stands for the jungle-the unknown-and the soul/nature of man. The listings are all symbols of the wilderness. In this novel, they refer the Congo river as a snake. The wilderness is a very significant symbol in Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness.
In the novel, for Marlow. the jungle of the Congo is representative of evil that man is capable of. The further Marlow travels into the jungle, the deeper he looks into himself. Marlow doesn’t want to end up like Kurtz when he traveled and spent all his time in the jungle and he forgot all of his self-control, manners, and upbringing. “Kurtz was a remarkable man”. Marlow says, because he “had something to say” and simply “said it”. While Kurtz is dying, his last words are “The Horror! The Horror!” and Marlow thinks maybe Kurtz has finally faced up to his horrible deeds and of human nature.
Marlow learns about a lot during his travel. His journey took him through by the congo river, he learned ivory symbols, he had discovered white worsted, He seen Kurtz painting, and more interesting things during the time. Marlow feels as if he is in a dream because of everything that is happening during his travel. Marlow learns that everybody's attitude can be different! Some people are separate from others!
In conclusion, the novel Heart of Darkness, by Joseph Conrad is a significant symbol having to do with the wilderness. The unknown , the soul/ nature of men, and the jungle are all symbols that stands for darkness.
In The Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad demonstrated a story of a man that finding his way through life. He uses various themes to progress Marlow’s story and explain his journey through life. Although he uses many themes and subthemes, Conrad had one major theme. The major theme of The Heart of Darkness is man’s humanity to man.
Throughout the novel, the white people in the story encourages slavery upon the natives. He uses forcefulness to get what he wants. For example, “I’ve been teaching one of the native women about the station. It was difficult. She had a distaste for the work.” The chief realizes that the only reason he dresses nicely and impressively, is because of the fact that he beats the enslaved. He believes the only way to get the native woman to do the work correctly and properly was to harshly beat the woman. Another example of this would be when Marlow sees the six man chain gang. There were six black men being treated as slaves. Marlow compares the men leading this gang as devils, stating “They were strong, lusty, red-eyed devils, that swayed and drove men I tell you.”
Many of the slaves were killed by the inhumanity and cruelty of the white man. A specific inhuman that was mentioned is Kurtz. He was a murderer who had dried heads of the slaves he had killed. He killed them because they did not follow his orders or retaliated against him. “They would have been more impressive, these heads on the stakes, if their faces had not been turned to the house… black, dried, sunken, with closed eyelids a head…” Kurtz demonstrates his oppression towards the slaves by torturing and killing them, then keeping their heads as a “souvenir”. This reminds me of the TV series, American Horror Story, when the “first lady” revealed her collection of cut off heads. These heads were from when her husband owned slaves and killed them if they ever tried anything. She kept them as a reminder of who her husband was. This makes both her husband and herself very inhumane. Back to Heart of Darkness, Kurtz is very disturbed by this and shows his dominance over these feeble natives.
The natives also had to endure countless cruelties. A black man was accused of causing the fire, although the general manager knowing he cannot be accountable for the fire. He still beats the native harshly. Several days later, he saw him looking very tired and sick. He looked as if he was trying to recover himself. These natives/slaves were being treated more than unfair. It was very unreasonable the way the slaves were being treated.
The major theme of The Heart of Darkness is man’s humanity to man. Joseph Conrad uses various themes to progress Marlow’s story and explain his journey through life. Although he uses many themes and subthemes, Conrad had one major theme.
In this novel, Heart of Darkness, by Joseph Conrad, he makes some comments and uses different terms to describe people of color that can offend someone. Readers [us] can see how racist Europeans were towards the colored and the main reason was not because of slavery. We can see how the European people seem to think that the Africans were not equal to them. There are examples of discrimination towards women in this story. Women were looked down to and they were considered to be worthless then men, and they were also considered not important--at all. Racism and discrimination are all over in this novel.
Conrad makes some comments about blacks that are disturbing and racist. One example of this is when he says “...the thought of their humanity-like yours...Ugly” (Conrad). This just goes to show how Conrad was completely racist. The thought of a black man’s humanity being compared to Conrad’s was just immature and not professional to me, as a reader. Another example is when for the first time he saw a black person, he said, “A certain enormous buck n****r encountered in Haiti fixed my conception of blind, furious, unreasoning rage, as manifested in the human animal to the end of my days. Of the n****r I used to dream for years afterwards” (Conrad). This remark that Conrad makes was very disturbing and clearly racism because he described the man as a n****r, which was used more than one time in the description.
Europeans were very discriminated throughout this book. There is not any words in this book in which a woman has a job that was equal to a man. Readers can see that men do not treat women very well or with any respect throughout this novel. For example, based on sexism, Kurtz had a mistress and she was described as a savage. “She was a savage and superb, wild-eyed...she stood looking around the wilderness” (Conrad).
In conclusion of these main sections in Conrad’s novel, The Heart of Darkness, we saw several disturbing comments towards racism and sexism. There were many comments made and we see how the book used them. I believe the same thing as Conrad.
Kamiya's HOD Essay
In the novel, The Heart of Darkness, the author continuously portrays the idea that the major theme throughout the novel is man’s inhumanity to man. By this, it can be assumed that he is referring to the events that have displayed a certain form of cruelty towards these humans whether it be racial or simply a way of these people. The acts that are brought to attention in the novel as gruesome and cruel are highlights of the significant events that contribute to this idea.
As we are aware, the novel discusses misfortunes among the native people of Africa. They are enslaved for their labor and treated harshly. Human beings enslaving one another can not be humane and is one of the larger direct themes that relate back to the major theme of the novel. In the book, Conrad uses imagery to show the audience the event. He describes how the natives work to produce the rubber from harmful plants that peel their skin off, as well as how they wear chains around their necks, wrists, and ankles.
Although the natives are treated badly, the novel moves further into the gorey category to describe the cannibals. There are people in the novel that consume other human beings. These people even allow dead bodies to hang over fences by their necks. Given I know little about them, the idea that a human could murder and consume another human being is one of the most inhumane and disgusting things that I can think of, making it that much more supporting towards the idea that inhumanity of man is a major theme of this novel.
Kurtz is thought to be a fascinating yet strange character by most people in the novel. His thought process is off and he is a little mad considering his horrific past. The reality is that Kurtz is insane and no one knows how to help him. He has an “intended” who barely even knows him but claims she loves him so much. Kurtz could be identified or categorized as inhuman. Even before his own death he left the world with the words “The horror! The horror!”.