In closing Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness and James Cameron’s Avatar illustrate imperialism through continuous use of light and dark to show the opposition between the two as well as the darkness pushing to take over the light. They differ, however, because in Avatar the darkness represents the imposing imperialists from Earth and in Heart of Darkness they represent the suppressed Congolese Natives. In Avatar, the darkness is seen trying to overtake the light through both the visual appearance of the Na’vi and in a conversation between Neytiri and Jake about Seeing. In Heart of Darkness this same idea is illustrated through the darkness of the Intended’s appearance and dress. This concept of darkness overtaking the light illustrates imperialism because one force always wants to have the most control, be it the imperialists or otherwise. In Avatar, the imperialists are dark based on their costuming and guns. This shows how imperialism can be dark as it can destroy culture and bring in waves of death. However, in Heart of Darkness the Congolese are darkness, needing the light of imperialism to save them from their savagery. The darkness in Heart of Darkness depicts darkness as a lesser, uncivilized state, which reduces the imperialist’s guilt allowing their imperialism to continue without moral implications. This fight between light and dark exists in everyday life with people trying to control other’s. They could be trying to do this for the right reasons, or the wrong
In their respective works, Barbara Kingsolver and Joseph Conrad give to the reader their main idea, through the internal reassessment of their characters. Though written 100 years apart Kingsolver’s Poisonwood Bible and Conrad’s Heart of Darkness both include the theme of a transformation of a major character. To show this theme Kingsolver uses her character of Leah Price, while Conrad uses his character of Charles Marlow.
Heart of Darkness portrays the differences between the civilized Europeans and the “savages” of which they were tasked to bring into civilization. Marlow recounts a tale of his experiences as a captain of a river-steamboat for a Company that trades ivory. He retells the story of his predecessor, Fresleven, a Dane, characterized as being told of being “the gentlest, quietest creature that ever walked on two legs.” Fresleven dies in a scuffle with the natives due to an argument regarding two black hens. This is the first image shown by Conrad that depicts the madness displayed by Europeans who venture into the “heart of darkness”.
Ignorance of another's personal values or situation results in an impassable schism between the two parties. People fail to understand each other, and as such, they regard each other in lower lights. In “Heart of Darkness”, Joseph Conrad, through Marlow, writes his novella through a lense of ignorance and the perspective of the typical white person of the time in order to relate his story to the reader. Marlow and the accountant are contrasted with Kurtz to display the effects of evil on an individual.
In Joseph Conrad’s novel, “Heart of Darkness,” the main character named Marlow goes through a journey through which Conrad gives us an important message. This message is that despite everyone having the inclination to give in to Id, we must resist this temptation by staying on guard against ourselves and others who have given in to Id. Id is the part of the mind that deals with innate and instinctive impulses that often come without reason or rational thought. Conrad uses Marlow as an example of losing one’s soul and ability of rational thinking because of the fact that he gave in to his Id. Other than Marlow, he uses other light and dark imagery symbolically, such as the River Thames, the Three Fates, the book, Kurtz, and England.
Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad is a story that centers around Marlow, an introverted sailor, and his treacherous journey up the Congo River in search of a man name Kurtz. Unfamiliar with the terrain and natives, Marlow faced many different obstacles that made his journey even more tough. Obstacles like the Congo River and the dense jungles that surround it not only limited the crew progress, but also aroused confusion as well. Joseph Conrad amazing use of descriptive wording and imagery help the readers understand why their surrounding was giving them uneasiness throughout their expedition to meet up with Kurtz. The readers can understand why nature was truly an adversary to Marlow and his crew.
In Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad shows human nature’s tendency toward callousness through the use of greed, imperialism, and darkness. Throughout the book the topics of greed, imperialism, and heartlessness give examples of the flaw that humans cannot fix. Humans tend to help others when there is a benefit for them to gain. This greed drives humans to overlook the unthinkable in order to satisfy their lust for power and money. The attempted help of the Englishmen becomes the disease that slowly starts to cripple the host to gain the power they desire. Conrad utilizes ideas of greed, imperialism, and the symbolism of darkness to show that humans are inherently selfish.
Hunt Hawkins presents the controversy that Joseph Conrad’s, Heart of Darkness, encounters, as its contents portray Africans as dehumanizing, savage, and uncivilized beings. In order to provide a sufficient amount of information with regards to the controversy, Hawkins introduces the analysis of distinct scholars to describe racism, imperialism, and human nature. As a result, an analysis of the characters are provided to the audience and allow an individual to understand why Conrad decided to write Heart of Darkness the way he did. Thus, during this process, Hawkins describes the manifestation of the darkness that eventually consumes Kurtz.
The lights from the city reflected the Thames River because London is described as being light, the light symbolizes Conrad’s view of civilization. According to Conrad civilization is where evil is present but ignored. The light is the knowledge that is gained through exploring. Conrad uses Africa and the Congo River to represent the evil that waits in the unknown. The darkness is said to be full of savages and cannibals it is further emphasized as being the uncivilized part of the world where people eat people and the savages wait in the trees and in the darkness. Africa in this novella is portrayed as “the Heart of Darkness” the place where the men’s inner evil is exposed, this is done through their thoughts and actions.
Everyone has their own opinions of which cultures are civilized and which are savage. A culture which is civilized is one where morals are set in place and and there is intellectual advancement. Civilized cultures follow a set a moral given to them usually by a government. A savage culture is where there are no morals in place. The people part of this culture do not follow any morals only hoping to survive, with no government intact. They are also not very advanced when it come to technology or intellectual advancement. This is the types of things that make a culture civilized or savage. Although there is a blurred line between both of these cultures.
Into the Darkness: How and why is a social group presented in a particular way?
In Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad, the imperialism of Africa is described. Conrad tells the story of the cruel treatment of the natives and of the imperialism of the Congo region through the perspective of the main character, Marlow. Throughout the novel, Marlow describes how the Europeans continuously bestow poor treatment to the native people by enslaving them in their own territory. Analyzing the story with the New Criticism lens, it is evident that Conrad incorporates numerous literary devices in Heart of Darkness, including similes, imagery, personification, and antitheses to describe and exemplify the main idea of cruel imperialism in Africa discussed throughout the novella.
To be bluntly honest, after having gotten to page 8 without having understood a word of the text, I was very frustrated. Not only did Heart of Darkness have an old-fashioned English style of writing but the first few pages were completely filled with references, symbols, metaphors and vivid imagery. I found myself either looking up each metaphor to understand it better or rereading each imagery because of its vividness. Thankfully, as the book progressed and Marlow’s story began, the plot became clearer and the story started to carry on more smoothly.