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. The majority of the novella is told from Marlow’s perspective. Initially, Marlow is introduced as a sailor going to work an unknown job for The Company. The odd doctor and strange ladies knitting magnify the mystery of his job. Then his journey …show more content…
He claims “ten days [is] an eternity,”(18) when ten days of waiting is trivial compared the terrible lives of the slave labor, where Marlow observes the natives “dying slowly”(17) and likened their demeanor to the “deathlike indifference of unhappy savages”(16). Here, Marlow’s ignorance of the hardships of the natives is dreadfully obvious. He does not consider the struggles of the natives around him as toilsome as his own, even though the reader can clearly see the opposite is true. The native's lives are far worse than Marlow having to idly wait for 10 days before continuing his journey. Marlow represents the reader, so this is Conrad’s first step to making the reader self-aware of their own apathy and dehumanization of black people. In addition, the juxtaposition between what Marlow sees as irritating for himself and the slave’s difficult work demonstrates the different perspectives of the white and black people working for The Company. Conrad’s comment displays how humanity and society have different expectations of different people and how those expectations change the way people are treated. Marlow also struggles to find an appropriate name to call the …show more content…
Throughout the novella, Marlow chases Kurtz, who is seen as a great man and a genius, deeper into the jungle. However, similar to how a robot can become self-aware, Kurtz slowly understands the reality of his actions and the corruption of the white imperialist system that he is part of. Kurtz is described as more of a voice and less of a man. His final words, “The horror! The horror!” (69) illustrate his realization of his own sins and the evilness of everything happening around him. While Marlow just observes many heinous things without reacting, Kurtz experiences similar crimes and made the choice to actively partake in committing such acts. As Marlow travels towards Kurtz, he also travels towards actually understanding the evil of the Congo instead of being ignorant. Kurtz is dehumanized and when he is about to die, Marlow describes the way he speaks. “A voice! a voice! ... to hide in the magnificent folds of eloquence the barren darkness of his heart.” (68) T.S Eliot furthers this idea in The Hollow Men, indicating how Kurtz’s voice is the only part of him that is not empty. Kurtz’s voice attempts to hide his emptiness and darkness that he acquired from his actions in the Congo. Unlike the accountant who remains pristine, Kurtz suffers and dies with his surroundings. In addition, the accountant’s physical appearance is the only part of him worth respecting, but Kurtz is
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Here, the description of Marlow towards the Europe attitudes when they enslaved the natives brutally displays that the situation was totally terrible. Marlow also illustrated the African situation at that time was a hard life and it indicates that Marlow was sympathy towards
The Treatment of Natives and Europeans in Joseph Conrad's Heart Of Darkness In Joseph Conrad's novella, Heart Of Darkness (1899), the narrator, Marlow describes his experience of a trip to the Belgian Congo. The novella has often been the subject of study with regards to its attitude towards imperialism and colonialism. It enjoys an important position in the postcolonial era, with some critics heralding it as an anti-imperialist novella that challenged its contemporary period's attitude towards imperialism. Thus, it also becomes interesting to analyse the attitude towards the colonised subject. This paper attempts to analyse the author's treatment of the natives and Europeans in Heart of Darkness, and to determine whether the
Kurtz is a European, his reason for being in Africa, and the treasure at the end of his trek. On the other hand, Kurtz represents this helmsman’s death. Due to the relationship that was blossoming between Marlow and the helmsman, his death becomes devastating. Marlow then interprets the events as being caused by Kurtz. The thought that all of these things came about simply due to his unconscious need to have a conversation with a stranger is shocking and abrasive to Marlow, but in a sudden realization, he says “(I) became aware that that was exactly what I had been looking forward to – a talk with Kurtz” (62).
In another important essay response to Heart of Darkness Edward Said not only discusses the novella but responds to Achebe’s essay challenging whether or not Conrad’s words represent overt racism as Achebe states. Said claims that when writing about the natives and their incapability of independence is due to Conrad’s lack of view of the alternatives to imperialism; Conrad did not live to see what happens when imperialism came to an end (essay guy). Conrad allows readers today to see an Africa that is not made up of dozens of European colonies, even if he himself might have had a very limited idea of what Africa was like (Said
In Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, the main character Marlow relays his tale of an expedition to Africa. While Marlow describes his journey through darkness, Conrad parallels Marlow experience with that of the Europeans in Africa. The darkness, in this case, represents the unpredictability of not only Marlow’s journey into Africa, but also the effect of the Europeans entering and exploitation of African commodities, namely ivory. Marlow’s journey is also a journey into the criticism of his own culture and his exploration into the meaning of human existence. While in Africa Marlow’s external journey gradually shapes his internal expedition, in which he concludes that life has no meaning and thus society is clueless of this fact.
During his journey they are seen as slaves, as enemies, and finally as followers of Kurtz. Upon Marlow’s discovery of Kurtz’s ‘tribe’ leaves him concerned. Through his writing, Conrad describes the way Kurtz came to the Heart, and began to make the ‘savages’ his own. This word choice,
In Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, Marlow and Kurtz both experience with this internal battle, and the concept of turning inward to overcome a struggle. However, Marlow exhibits control over his will when he masters his inward struggle. Marlow explains that he hates lies; that lies make him sick and unable to live with himself. However, he lies to the intended at the end of the novella by saying that Kurtz’s spoke her name before dying.
As humans, the need to extend one’s power and influence comes instinctively. In the novella, Heart of Darkness, by Joseph Conrad, Conrad illustrates man’s desire of imperialism through the compelling stories of Marlow--the insightful protagonist of the novella. Conrad introduces the setting as Marlow and four other friends sit in a ship in Thames as they await the turn of the tide. Thames was flooded, which foreshadows the destruction readers will become aware of as soon as Marlow begins to narrate almost the entire novella through his renowned storytelling. Throughout his storytelling, Marlow describes and highlights the destructive nature of imperialism as he recounts his journey up the Congo River to meet the glorified man known as Kurtz.
In the classic book, Heart of Darkness, which inspired the film Apocalypse Now, Joseph Conrad tells the story of Charles Marlowe who has been sent to Africa by an unnamed company to find one of its agents—Kurtz. Kurtz went deep into Africa to find ivory for the company. He had been very successful with large shipments, but the company had lost touch with him. When Marlow tracks down Kurtz at the trading station, he finds that he has become like a demigod among the natives. On the trip back with Kurtz, Marlow reads his report for the International Society for the Suppression of Savage Customs.
This dissonance between intention and action is more visible in the women in European society, the examples in Heart of Darkness being Marlow's aunt and Kurtz's intended. The women are fed lies about the actions of men in Africa to protect the image of men and their conquest of Africa. Marlow’s belief about women is that they live in
Kurtz, allowing readers to see the overall madness recurring. Conrad uses specific diction to force readers to imagine the madness that must be going through Mr.Kurtz mind because of his geographical surroundings. Furthermore, Marlow disturbingly states “the air was warm, thick, heavy, sluggish. There was no joy in the brilliance of the sunshine... deserted, into the gloom.”
This reference keeps on supporting the thought of light being great and dull being detestable. As the laborers retreat into the light incredible the dim caverns, they feel alleviation from their torment. Marlow likewise calls these individuals "dark shadows of ailment and starvation. " This quote strengthens the thought that blacks and the dull pictures they anticipate are uncouth and nothing to be longing
The Motives: Truths and Reality of the Heart of Darkness Joseph Conrad’s novel the Heart of Darkness was “written in 1898 and 1899, and first published in 1902 is cited in the 15th edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica as Conrad’s “most famous, finest, and most enigmatic story” (Conrad, v). The story contains a combination of Conrad’s experience as a sailor in the French and British merchant marines. His experience in Africa pushed him to write the truth and reality throughout the Congo River. Conrad uses an unnamed narrator to shift perspectives between himself and Marlow, who is the central character. Conrad does this to hide his motives or to not make them directly perceptible.
Justin Pascual Mrs. Parmar Oct. 28, 2015 Period A Heart of Darkness Essay: The Desensitization of Marlow It is hard to imagine the harsh and horrible truths that many people face, and is even harder to imagine not being affected by these horrible truths. In the novel, Heart of Darkness, by Joseph Conrad, many vivid images of the horrors of the Congo are painted in the reader’s head as well as experienced by the protagonist Marlow.