What Does Heart Of Darkness Red Symbolize

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In writing, authors use the illusion of good v. evil in a form of color scheme: white is good, black is evil. However when we take a look at Joseph Conrad 's book, Heart of Darkness, the color lines seem to have faded, and reversed roles in a sort of way. The book is based on imperialism of the Congo and the true horrors of what happened during the time. Since this book is based off of true events it can get to be pretty devastating to see how people were treated. The use of colors is inversed to what is normally established as a precedent of good and bad to show that imperialism is evil. White is universally known as the good side of stories, but Conrad seems to have a different point of view for this topic in the book. The people who were …show more content…

Red is usually a mystery when it comes to stories and is determined by the context of what’s going on with the character’s life. Sometimes it means lust romance and love other times it’s used to describe violence, anger, and evil. It’s well-known that the devil is painted red in stories for a reason. The symbol of red in Heart of Darkness should obviously take a darker approach. The narrator is describing his entrance into the Congo and states, “There was a vast amount of red - good to see at any time, because one knows that some real work is done in there,”( ). The red symbolized the blood shed that the savages have lost while working. This is significant because using the word red instead of blood shows how there is a lack of respect for the indigenous people in the Congo, thus making the “heart” darker than it already …show more content…

The color black does show the people in another aspect. Hunt Hawkins discuses Chinua Achebe’s article describing all of the awful things said about persons of color. Hawkins discusses a difficult topic of racism. He explains Conrad does not refer too many of the black character’s by name, and uses derogatory names like, “savages”, “negro”, and “rudimentary souls” which shows his lack of empathy for the lower race causing the roots of visualization of racism. Hawkins agrees with Achebe’s and quotes him saying, “teems with Africans whose humanity is admitted in theory but totally undermined by the mindlessness of its context and pretty explicit animal imagery surrounding it.” (366). the mere symbol of being black shows that they are somehow inferior to the whites. This common theme, often shown by Marlow, again shows the effects of imperialism toward “lower” cultures. Further creating the illusion that colors are reversed in

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