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Taking place during the height of European imperialism in Africa, Heart of Darkness follows the journey up the Congo River of Marlow, a steamboat captain. Marlow comes to Africa to escape the strict confines of European society.
Marlow is very idealistic, and during his travels up the Congo, he is eager to prove that there is some good to the European presence in Africa. Although Marlow looks for signs of the good of imperialism, he finds none.
Because of this, Marlow is eager to meet with Kurtz, another trader in the Congo. Marlow is so eager to meet with Kurtz because he believes Kurtz is the man the will prove to him that there is good in the European presence in Africa. However, as Marlow journeys up the Congo, viewing the effects of European imperialism on Africa, he realizes that there is no good in the presence of Europeans; furthermore, he is exposed to his own heart of darkness that he has seen in all the other Europeans in Africa.
Leopold believed that his mission statement was to reduce the barbarism of the Brantlinger essay on heart of darkness people by bring civilization to the African people. For most Europeans, the continent of Africa was the Dark Continent because the people of Africa were considered to be uncivilized, uneducated, lacking a real government, and lacking any culture.
Europeans considered it their duty to bring all that the Africans lacked in culture and civilization to the continent; thus, imperialism in Africa began.
Conrad explores the heart of darkness through the Protagonist of the novel: As Marlow journeys up the Congo River, viewing the atrocities of European imperialism on the African people, the reader realizes what the heart of darkness is.
The heart of darkness is in the heart of every person where each person is faced with his or her true and often inherently evil nature. Marlow comes to Africa because he feels very separated from the imperialism in Africa; furthermore, Marlow has heard what the critics say about imperialism in Africa.
When he goes to Africa, he is very idealistic about the European presence there despite some of the stories he has heard. There was a touch of insanity in the proceeding, a sense of lugubrious drollery in the sight; and it was not dissipated by somebody on board assuring me earnestly there was a camp of native—he called them enemies!
He was overwhelmed by the horror of the death and destruction he sees: It is here that Marlow first encounters the heart of darkness and slowly begins to realize what it is. Marlow is once again faced with this overwhelming sense of decay and death when he reaches the outer station of the company, he encounters a group of native African people who have basically been enslaved in a chain gang; furthermore, he sees that also the Europeans are suffering as well: This scene at the outer station is an important one because it shows that not only is the African people suffering because of imperialism, but so are the Europeans as well.
Basically, no one is reaping any real advantages from the European presence in Africa. During a ten-day wait at the outer station, Marlow is first told about Kurtz. After being exposed to an overwhelming amount of evidence against imperialism, Marlow is now introduced to the idea of man doing good for the people of the Dark Continent.
Marlow realizes this; thus, he has a strong desire to locate and talked to Kurtz in hopes of seeing first hand the good that Kurtz does for the people of the dark continent. A Marlow travels up the Congo River, he is being exposed more and more to the savagery, this heart of darkness, which all the Europeans in Africa seem to posses.
For example, Marlow overhears a conversation between the Manager of that company and his uncle about the condition of Kurtz. Marlow discovers that these men wish to hang Kurtz and are discussing ways in which to accomplish this.
Marlow sees this and is once again exposed to the heart of darkness that man possesses. I believe this to be a metaphor for the heart of darkness: A person may look civilized on the surface, but as you further explore them, you begin to see that they are truly savage at heart.
The situation of Marlow being told of Kurtz reputation as a good man and now seeing that he too has been corrupted and has done terrible things to the African people is another metaphor for the heart of darkness that Conrad places in the book.
Later that night, Marlow tracks Kurtz off the ship and finds him watching some kind of tribal ceremony. Marlow trys to get Kurtz to come back to the boat, but as he looks at Kurtz alone in the wilderness he comments that he realizes that because Kurtz had been alone in the wilderness, his soul was alone and had gone mad; furthermore, Marlow realizes that his soul has this very same feeling to it.
At this moment, Marlow comes to the realization that he too has his own heart of darkness. In the case of Kurtz, society was willing to over-look any of his more questionable actions because Kurtz supplied them with ivory.
When Kurtz says these words on his deathbed, he is speaking to the atrocities man can commit when there are no restrictions placed on him by society. Marlow comes to Africa with the hope of seeing the good of European Imperialism first hand. Instead, Marlow is exposed to the heart of darkness: As Marlow journeys up the Congo, his encounters with the heart of darkness become more frequent and powerful.
Through the novel, he battles his own heart of darkness until he finally gives into it at the end of the novel.Heart of Darkness may contain various racist undertones, however, they all serve a purpose on conveying the greater message.
It is important to overlook this aspect of the novel, not in ignorance, but in order to see the true meaning that lies within the darkness. In our series, Guide to the classics, experts explain key works of literature.
Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness - or “The Heart of Darkness”, as it was known to its first readers - was. Patrick Brantlinger (Racism) – Brantlinger deconstructs the idea that Heart of Darkness must be read as either racist (and therefore imperialist) or anti-imperialist (and therefore antiracist).
The fact that he starts by stating a binary that he goes on to disprove indicates that he is likely a deconstructionist. "Heart of Darkness: Anti-Imperialism, Racism, or Impressionism?" What's going on in this essay?
Brantlinger is drawing on several different readings of Heart of Darkness to pose the question, "What is Conrad's point in writing this book?". Though Queen Tera is an entirely fictional character, she bears many resemblances to Queen Hatshepsut, a pharaoh in Ancient Egypt.
Hatshepsut ruled Egypt from . Heart of Darkness. Some of the more notable critics include Albert Guerard, Chinua Achebe, Ian Watt, Hunt Hawkins, Peter Brooks, Patrick Brantlinger, Marianna Torgovnick, Jeremy Hawthorn, Wilson Harris, Edward W.
Said and J. Hiller Millis. This essay focuses on the work of a few of these critics, some which are especially notable.