Heart Of Darkness By Joseph Conrad: Literary Analysis

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"Without feelings of respect, what is there to distinguish men from beasts?" (Confucius). This quote by Confucius states the idea that, deep down, there is not much separating men from beasts and man is naturally "dark" when removed from civilization. Throughout history, man has had the opinion that there is no being that is superior; specifically, this idea is possessed by the white man. In Joseph Conrad 's novel, Heart of Darkness, he uses this idea specifically to emphasize the white man 's positive opinion of themselves and lack of respect for the natives of the Congo. The respect the white men have for themselves provide the illusion that they are above the natives, and the natives are savages; but, in reality, when the respect is taken away, and the darkness within is visible, all men are beasts. Conrad 's novel portrays this high level of respect that white men have for themselves as the darkness within the heart of man. In Conrad 's novel, Heart of Darkness, he uses the literary elements of character development, symbolism, and conflict to illustrate the…show more content…
Symbolism is used within the novel to help make the darkness throughout the story more evident. For example, an element of symbolism in Heart of Darkness that provides further illustration of the theme would be the unfinished painting of the woman on which Kurtz had been working. The painting is of a woman "draped and blindfolded, carrying a lighted torch" (Conrad, 22). She is engulfed in darkness, unknowing of her surroundings. This image symbolizes the blindness the Europeans have to the truth, and because of the blindness, they continue their journey down the path of the darkness of man. In like manner, the River Thames is referred to as "resembling an immense snake uncoiled" and Marlow continues after this description saying, "the snake had charmed me," which symbolizes the deception of the Congo, supporting the idea that the men are blind to the truth (Conrad, 6). In addition,
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