Literary Device Dictionary

By: Jake Beauchamp Block:4

Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

Allusion

Quote

"That was evident in such things as the deplorable state of the station"(Conrad 27).

Explanation

This quote is relevant to the story because it is talking about the three company stations that are set up along and throughout the Congo river. These stations are very important to the book because these stations represent where Marlow is supposed to receive his new steamboat, and how far down the river he has to travel. Although, the book never goes into detail what the station is and what is inside of it. It only refers to it as a place the workers go. Without these stations along the river, Marlow would be lost and frightened due to the fact that he has never traveled up the Congo River.

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Dynamic Character

Quote

"But his soul was mad. Being alone in the wilderness, it looked within itself and by heavens I tell you, it had gone mad"( Conrad 66).

Explanation

This is an important quote to the book because Kurtz's personality and actions change throughout the plot of the book. Towards the beginning of the book Kurtz is seen as a man capable of many abilities who is chief of the inner station and a very helpful person who exerts a powerful influence on the people he interacts with during his life. Towards the end however, Kurtz becomes very unstable and starts to participate in tribal rituals that make him feel like a god. Kurtz is then seen as crazy when he puts the heads of savages on fence posts surrounding his house. He also ignored the European colonial government.

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Foil

Quote

"... this man has enlarged my mind"( Conrad 54).

Explanation

This quote talks about the Helmsman describing how much Kurtz has expanded his mind. This is important because it shows Helmsman describing Kurtz as a helpful and friendly person. This also ties back to Kurtz at the beginning of the book when he is helpful and a leader. Helmsman had learned these traits after years of working with kurtz up and down the Congo River.

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Foreshadowing

Quote

"I demanded rivets"(Conrad 37).

Explanation

Marlow needs rivets to fix his steamboat so he can keep traveling down the Congo river. This is hinting to the fact that he will soon get his rivets so he can keep sailing. Since marlow's ship is sunk, he needs rivets to repair it. This is important because without the boat, Marlow will never be able to ride down the river.

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Imagery

Quote

"The edge of the colossal jungle, so dark green as to be almost black, fringed with white stuff , ran straight, like a ruled line, far, far away along a blue sea whose glitter was blurred by creeping mist"(Conrad 15).

Explanation

This represents what Marlow is seeing as he is traveling the river. This is important because this foreshadows danger is lurking everywhere. It also paints a very vivid image into the readers mind about how dangerous this job he took is. Without this piece of evidence the reader would lack information about what the Congo river looks like.

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Paradox

Quote

"A grand piano stood massively in a corner, with dark gleams on the flat surfaces like a somber and polished sarcophagus"(Conrad 103).

Explanation

Marlow is referring to the piano as a sarcophagus, which represents death. Therefor, Marlow is reminded of Kurtz death. This shows the greater meaning of Marlows thoughts about the piano. This also represents that Marlow is still thinking about Kurtz and how he cares for him and respects him. This is important because Marlow will not stop thinking about Kurtz in the future.

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Static Character

Quote

"He steered for me-I had to look after him, I worried about his deficiencies, and thus a subtle bond had been suddenly broke"(Conrad 69).

Explanation

This shows that the characters bond was never broken until he died. This means their bond did not change throughout the story. The sailor's thoughts about Marlow were static throughout the entire story, which mean he always cared about him and relied on him when he needed his help most.

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Symbolism

Quote

"In the steady buzz of flies the homeward-bound agent was lying finished and insensible"(Conrad 13).

Explanation

This quote is symbolizing the flies as death. This is important to the book because whenever someone died in the book, the body was surrounded by flies. Therefor, the quote resembles death.

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Tragedy

Quote

"But I am of course aware that the next day the pilgrims buried something in a muddy hole"(Conrad 97).

Explanation

This quote is talking about Kurtz death. This quote is important because Kurtz went through events that could have cause him to die. For example, Kurtz was following native tribe rituals and involved many activities that exposed him to illness many times. However, this was not his first illness which could've also led to his death.

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Verbal Irony

Quote

"Then i began to look for a ship-I should think the hardest work on Earth"(Conrad 7) .

Explanation

Marlow is explaining how hard it is to find a boat that is suitable for him to travel to the Congo river. This is exaggerating how difficult it may be to find a ship. This contradicts to how he has always wanted to travel and explore the world. This is important because without a boat he cannot explore anything or go anywhere.

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