Heart Of DarknessA Essay Research Paper Heart
Heart Of Darkness ( A ) Essay, Research Paper
Heart Of DarknessA Essay Research Paper Heart Essay Example
Heart of DarknessConrad & # 8217 ; s novel, Heart of Darkness, relies on the historical period of imperialism in order to depict its supporter, Charlie Marlow, and his battle. Marlow & # 8217 ; s katharsis in the novel, as he goes to the Congo, rests on how he visualizes the effects of imperialism. This paper will analyse Marlow & # 8217 ; s & # 8220 ; alteration, & # 8221 ; as caused by his exposure to the imperialistic nature of the historical period in which he lived. Marlow is asked by & # 8220 ; the company & # 8221 ; , the organisation for whom he works, to go to the Congo river and study back to them about Mr. Kurtz, a top notch officer of theirs. When he sets canvas, he doesn & # 8217 ; t cognize what to anticipate. When his journey is completed, this small & # 8220 ; trip & # 8221 ; will hold changed Marlow everlastingly! Heart of Darkness is a narrative of one adult male & # 8217 ; s journey through the African Congo and the & # 8220 ; enlightenment & # 8221 ; of his psyche. It begins with Charlie Marlow, along with a few of his companions, cruising aboard the Nellie, a traditional sailing boat. On the boat, Marlow begins to state of his experiences in the Congo. Conrad uses Marlow to uncover all the personal ideas and emotions that he wants to portray while Marlow goes on this & # 8220 ; ocean trip of a life-time & # 8221 ; . Marlow begins his ocean trip as an ordinary English crewman who is going to the African Congo on a & # 8220 ; concern trip & # 8221 ; . He is an Englishmen through and through. He & # 8217 ; s ne’er been exposed to any alternate signifier of civilization, similar to the 1 he will meet in Africa, and he has no thought about the drastically different civilization that exists out at that place. Throughout the book, Conrad, via Marlow & # 8217 ; s observations, reveals to the reader the naif outlook shared by every European. Marlow every bit good, portions this naivet in the beginning of his ocean trip. However, after his first few minutes in the Congo, he realizes the ignorance he and all his companions possess. We foremost acknowledge the general naivet of the Europeans when Marlow & # 8217 ; s aunt is seeing him for the last clip before he embarks on his journey. Marlow & # 8217 ; s aunt is under the premise that the ocean trip is a mission to & # 8220 ; wean those nescient 1000000s from their horrid ways & # 8221 ; ( 18-19 ) . In world, nevertheless, the Europeans are at that place in the name of imperialism and their exclusive aim is to gain a significant net income by roll uping all the tusk in Africa. Another manifestation of the Europeans obliviousness towards world is seen when Marlow is telling his escapade aboard the Nellie. He addresses his companions who are on board stating: When you have to go to to things of that kind, to the mere incidents of the surface, the world & # 8211 ; the world I tell you & # 8212 ; slices. The interior truth is hidden fortunately, fortunately. But I felt it all the same ; I felt frequently its cryptic hush observation over me at my monkey fast ones, merely as it watches you fellows executing on your several tight ropes for & # 8212 ; what is it? half a Crown a tumble & # 8212 ; ( 56 ) . What Marlow is stating is that while he is in the Congo, although he has to concentrate on the junior-grade small mundane things, such as supervising the fix of his boat, he is still cognizant of what is traveling on around him and of the atrocious world in which he is in the thick of. On the other manus, his friends on the boat merely wear & # 8217 ; t cognize of these worlds. It is their ignorance, every bit good as their artlessness which provokes them to state & # 8220 ; Try to be civil, Marlow & # 8221 ; ( 57 ) . Not merely are they unmindful to the world which Marlow is exposed to, but their naivet is so great, they can & # 8217 ; t even grok a topographic point where this & # 8217 ; so called & # 8217 ; world would even be a bad dream! Hence, their response is clearly call on the carpeting the words of a & # 8220 ; barbarian & # 8221 ; for holding said something so pathetic and & # 8220 ; uncivilized & # 8221 ; . Quite surprisingly, this outlook does non refer entirely to the Englishmen in Europe. At one point during Marlow & # 8217 ; s ocean trip down the Congo, his boat hits an tremendous spot of fog. At that really instant, a & # 8220 ; really loud call & # 8221 ; is let out ( 66 ) . After Marlow looks around and makes certain everything is all right, he observes the contrasts of the Whites and the inkinesss looks. It was really funny to see the contrast of look of the white work forces and of the black chaps of our crew, who were every bit much aliens to this portion of the river as we, though their places were merely eight hundred stat mis off. The Whites, of class greatly discomposed, had besides a funny expression of being distressingly shocked by such an hideous row. The others had an qui vive, of course interested look ; but their faces were basically quiet. . . ( 67 ) . Once once more, we see the simple-mindedness of the Europeans, even if they were exposed to world. Their outlook is engraved in their heads and is so impliable, that even the environment of the Congo can & # 8217 ; t rock their belief that people merely wear & # 8217 ; t do the atrocious things Marlow recounts. The Whites are dumbfounded and can non grok how people, in this instance the indigens, would merely assail these guiltless people. That would merely be incorrect! The inkinesss, nevertheless, who are cognizant of the world in which they live, are & # 8220 ; basically quiet & # 8221 ; . They feel right at place, and are non phased by the scream. Similarly, the difference of outlooks is shown when Marlow speaks of the part of his crew who are man-eaters. While in the thick of his journey, Marlow, rather casually, converses with these man-eaters ; even about their animalistic ways! As Jacques Berthoud said so accurately in his Joseph Conrad, & # 8220 ; what would be indefinable horror in London & # 8230 ; becomes, on the Congo river, an everyday subject of conversation & # 8230 ; & # 8221 ; ( 47 ) . These & # 8220 ; indefinable horrors & # 8221 ; are barely indefinable in the Congo because they are normal happenings at that place. On the Nellie, Marlow explains to his companions, the basic difference between life in Europe, and being in the Congo. He states: You can & # 8217 ; t understand. How could you? With solid paving under your pess, surrounded by sort neighbours ready to hearten you or to fall you, stepping finely between the meatman and the police officer, in the holy panic of dirt and gallows and moonstruck refuges & # 8212 ; how can you conceive of what peculiar part of the first ages a adult male & # 8217 ; s untrammelled pess may take him into by the manner of purdah & # 8212 ; arrant purdah without a police officer & # 8212 ; by the manner of silence arrant silence, where no warning voice of a sort neighbour can be heard whispering of public sentiment ( 82 ) ? In Europe, there are & # 8220 ; sort neighbours & # 8221 ; who are at that place to do certain that everything is all right. The European lives his life & # 8220 ; stepping finely between the meatman and the police officer & # 8221 ; . Everywhere he looks, there is ever person there who can & # 8220 ; catch him if he is falling & # 8221 ; . On the other manus, one time a adult male enters the Congo, he is all entirely. No police officer, no & # 8220 ; warning voice of a sort neighbour & # 8221 ; & # 8230 ; no 1! It is now when Marlow enters the Congo and begins his ocean trip, that he realizes the environment he comes from is non world, and the lone manner he is traveling to detect world is to maintain traveling up the river & # 8230 ; There is one specific subject in Heart of Darkness in which the reader can follow Marlow & # 8217 ; s development from the & # 8220 ; mundane European & # 8221 ; to a adult male who realizes his ain naivet and eventually to his denudation of his ain world. This development comes approximately as a direct consequence of Marlow & # 8217 ; s observations of how things are named. This sounds really unusual, that a adult male would happen his true world by detecting the names of certain things. However, it is exactly these observations which change Marlow everlastingly. Marlow foremost realizes the European & # 8217 ; s defect of non being able to give something a name of significance, in the beginning of his ocean trip, when he has non rather reached the Congo, but he is highly close. Once, I remember, we came upon a adult male of war anchored off the seashore. There wasn & # 8217 ; t even a shed at that place, and she was blasting the shrub. It appears the Gallic had one of their wars traveling on there-abouts. Her ensign dropped like a wilted shred ; the muzzles of the long six inch guns stuck out all over the low hull ; the greasy, slimy crestless wave swung her up lazily and allow her down, rocking her thin masts. In the empty enormousness of Earth, sky, and H2O, there she was, inexplicable, firing into a continent. Pop, would travel one of the six inch guns ; a little fire would flit and disappear, a small white fume would vanish, a bantam missile would give a lame shriek & # 8212 ; and nil happened. Nothing could go on. There was a touch of insanity in the proceeding, a sense of lugubrious clowning in the sight ; and it was non dissipated by person on board guaranting me seriously there was a cantonment of indigens & # 8212 ; he called them enemies! & # 8212 ; hidden out of sight someplace ( 21 ) . Conrad is learning us something highly of import. Berthoud points out that the & # 8220 ; intelligibility of what work forces do depends upon the context in which they do it. & # 8221 ; Marlow is watching this happening. He sees the Europeans firing & # 8220 ; bantam missiles & # 8221 ; and their cannons bring forthing a & # 8220 ; pop & # 8221 ; . The Europeans, nevertheless, see themselves contending an all out war against the barbarian enemies in the name of imperialism! The Europeans feel that this is an honest conflict, and hence, all get emotionally excited and fight with all they have. Marlow, nevertheless, sees it otherwise. He is now in Africa where world broods. It & # 8217 ; s skulking everyplace. The lone thing 1 has to make to happen it is unfastened his head to new and antecedently & # 8216 ; unheard & # 8217 ; of thoughts. He looks at this event and reduces it from the European & # 8217 ; s image of a supposedly intense conflict, with fume and enemies everyplace, to a ineffectual fire of & # 8220 ; bantam missiles & # 8220 ; into an empty wood. For the first clip, Marlow recognizes the falseness of the European outlook, and their inability to qualify an event for what it is. At the terminal of the transition, his fellow European crewmember is guaranting Marlow that the allied ship is get the better ofing the & # 8220 ; enemies & # 8221 ; , and that they merely couldn & # 8217 ; t see the & # 8220 ; enemies & # 8221 ; because they were & # 8220 ; hidden out of sight someplace & # 8221 ; . In actuality, they & # 8217 ; re hiting at guiltless indigens who have likely fled from the country of conflict already. Marlow is get downing to recognize that & # 8220 ; what makes sense in Europe no longer makes sense in Africa & # 8221 ; ( Berthoud. 46 ) . With that transition, Conrad informs the reader of Marlow & # 8217 ; s realisation. From that point on, Marlow is looking to confirm if in actuality, the outlook instilled upon him in Europe is similar to this, or if those are untypical Europeans who are populating in a dream universe. As the novel continues, Marlow recognizes that this defect of non being able to see something for what it is, and in bend, non being able to give it an accurate & # 8220 ; label & # 8221 ; , is so & # 8220 ; the European manner & # 8221 ; . There are some names given by the Europeans that merely wear & # 8217 ; t suit the feature of the object being named. Marlow points out that the name & # 8216 ; Kurtz & # 8217 ; means short in German. However, at Marlow & # 8217 ; s first glimpse at Kurtz, he comments how Kurtz appears to be & # 8220 ; seven pess long & # 8221 ; ( 101 ) . Teodor josef konrad korzeniowski shows us, through Marlow & # 8217 ; s observation, how Kurtz & # 8217 ; s name is merely a blazing oxy-moron. Marlow recognizes yet another obvious deceit. Marlow meets a adult male who is called the & # 8220 ; bricklayer & # 8221 ; . However, as Marlow himself points out, & # 8220 ; there wasn & # 8217 ; t a fragment of a brick anyplace in the station & # 8221 ; ( 39 ) . During his ocean trip, nevertheless, Marlow doesn & # 8217 ; t merely detect this misnaming, but realizes the importance of a name. While catching a conversation between the director of the station and his uncle, he hears Mr. Kurtz being refereed to as & # 8220 ; that adult male & # 8221 ; ( 53 ) . Although Marlow hasn & # 8217 ; t met Kurtz yet, he has heard of his illustriousness. He now realizes that by these work forces naming him & # 8220 ; that adult male & # 8221 ; , they strip him of all his properties. When one hears Kurtz, they think of a & # 8221 ; really singular individual & # 8221 ; ( 39 ) . These work forces are now, by non mentioning to him by his name, denying Kurtz & # 8217 ; s achievements.
This same thought of falsifying a individual & # 8217 ; s character by cha
nging his name is displayed elsewhere. The Europeans apply the terms ‘enemy’ and ‘criminals’ to the natives. In actuality, they are simply “bewildered and helpless victims…and moribund shadows”(Berthoud. 46). Clearly, the injustice done by the simple misnaming of someone is unbelievable. After witnessing all of these names which bare no true meaning, as well as possibly degrade a person’s character, Marlow understands that he can not continue in his former ways of mindlessly giving random names to something in fear of diminishing the essence of the recipient. As a result, Marlow finds himself unable to label something for what it is. While under attack, Marlow reefers to the arrows being shot in his direction as “sticks, little sticks”, and a spear being thrown at his boat “a long cane”(75–77). When Marlow arrives at the inner station, he sees “slim posts…in a row” with their “ends ornamented with round carved balls”(88). In truth, these are poles with skulls on top of them. Marlow can formulate a name even for the simplest of things. Taking a step back and looking at his voyage, Marlow realizes the insignificant, mindless, meaningless ‘labels’ which the Europeans use to identify with something, and he wants to be able to “give to experience, names that have some substance”. At this point, he is similar to Adam in the Garden of Eden who is “watching the parade of nameless experience” go by. However, Marlow is missing an essential thing which Adam possessed. As opposed to Adam, who was delegated by G-d to name experiences, Marlow lacked this authority to name. It is Kurtz who will become this authority, and eventually teach Marlow the essence of a name(Johnson. 76). Mr. Kurtz is the Chief of the Inner Station. He is a “universal genius, a prodigy, an emissary of pity science and progress”(40-45). It is Kurtz who will teach Marlow what a name is, for one simple reason… The man presented himself as a voice…of all his gifts, the one that stood out preeminently, that carried with it a sense of real presence, was his ability to talk, his words—the gift of expression, the bewildering, the illuminating…(79). Kurtz was “little more than a voice”(80), but there was no one with a voice like his. He could speak with remarkable eloquence, he could write with such precision… he could name with true meaning! “You don’t talk with that man[Kurtz], you listen to him”(90)! Marlow has heard enough about Kurtz, in this case from his devoted pupil, to know that it is he who can provide Marlow with the authority to offer “correct and substantial names”(Johnson. 76). Indeed, Kurtz gives Marlow everything Marlow is looking for. However, he does it in a very unconventional way. Kurtz teaches Marlow the lesson with his last words. “The horror! The horror!”(118). These last words are Kurtz’s own judgment, judgment on the life which he has lived. He is barbarous, unscrupulous, and possibly even evil. However, he has evaluated at his life, and he has “pronounced a judgment upon the adventures of his soul on this earth”(118). Marlow sees Kurtz “open his mouth wide—it gave him a weirdly voracious aspect, as though he wanted to swallow all the air, all the earth, all the men before him…”(101). Kurtz takes everything in. He takes his life, and puts it all out on the table. “He had summed up— he had judged…The horror!”(119). Kurtz’s last words is his way of teaching Marlow the essence of a name. A name is not merely a label. It is one man’s own judgment of an isolated event. However, unlike the Europeans who judge based on already existing principles which they have ‘acquired’, Kurtz taught Marlow to look inside of himself and to judge based on his own subjective creeds. While Marlow is recounting the story, he says to his comrades:He must meet that truth with his own true stuff—with his own inborn strength. Principles won’t do. Acquisitions, clothes, pretty rags—rags that would fly off at the first good shake. No; you want a deliberate belief. An appeal to me in this fiendish row—is there? Very well; I hear; I admit, but have a voice too, and for good or evil mine is the voice that can not be silenced (60). This is the lesson which Marlow has learned. Objective standards alone will not lead one to recognize the reality in something. One can not only depend on anther’s principles to find his reality in something because they have not had tobear the pain and responsibility of creating it. Principles are usually acquisitions, which like other things we acquire rather than generate, like clothes are easily shaken off. The power of speech which will sustain a man is the power to create or affirm for one’s self a deliberate, or a chosen belief (Bruce Johnson. 79). This judgment must be from one’s own internal strengths. That is why Marlow says, “for good or evil, mine is the speech that can not be silenced”. As Kurtz has taught him with his own judgment, a judgment of truth overpowers morality. To find one’s own reality, one must not rely solely on other people’s morality, others people’s ‘principles’ and he must assess his own life. What Kurtz did is that he showed that regardless of whether the truth is good or bad, one must face up to his reality. He must face up to his own actions even when the conclusion is “the horror”, and by doing so, he will find his true reality. Marlow understands that being true to yourself is not following anther’s moral code, but being able to judge one’s self honestly and uncover their own reality. It is because of this understanding that Marlow claims that Kurtz’s last words is “a moral victory paid for by innumerable defeats…”(120). Despite Kurtz’s immoral ways, he is victorious because he didn’t run away from the truth; and that is his moral victory. He is true to himself.!On his voyage, Marlow notices at one of the stations, a picture that Kurtz had drawn when he was there. It is a “sketch in oils on a panel representing a woman draped and blindfolded, carrying a lighted torch. The background was sombre—almost black”(40). At the time, Marlow didn’t really know what it meant. However, this is a precise representation of Kurtz himself. Firstly, the background was “sombre—almost black”. This is a manifestation of Kurtz because his life is full of darkness. He kills, he steals, and he is worshipped as a god. Kurtz cannot be without blackness and survive. In addition, the picture displays the lesson itself. It is a picture of the lady of justice holding a torch. This is Kurtz’s role. Unlike Europe, which imposes their principles upon others, he is merely there to “illuminate”(79). Kurtz is there to expand the peoples minds, to introduce them to a broad new spectrum of reality. However, he does not impose his own reality upon them. Hence, he is blindfolded in the picture. To him, they make a subjective decision and they find their own truth, regardless of what that truth may be. That is his lesson. Eventually Marlow realizes that Kurtz’s picture was in essence, a self portrait. The same thing which Kurtz conveyed with ‘the horror’, he conveyed with this picture. Marlow’s realization is evident with this remark. “I don’t like work—no man does—but I like what’s in the work—the chance to find yourself. Your own reality—for yourself, not for others”(47). Marlow learns the essence of ‘naming’ and understands what it means to ‘be yourself’. However, Marlow has encountered two extremes. The European mentality, which is completely oblivious to reality, and Kurtz, a man who has found his reality, but it is one of horror and no restraint from any wrongdoing. He is now returning to his home to deal with his former world, however, he now possesses his new ‘understanding’. Marlow cannot return to his previous ‘European ways’ simply because he has ‘been enlightened’ and lost his naivet . However, why can’t he adapt Kurtz’s ways and live the other extreme? At one point, Marlow had “peeped over the edge”(119). Why didn’t he ‘jump over’?Marlow is repelled from joining Kurtz for several reasons. Firstly, Kurtz had “kicked himself loose from the earth…he had kicked the earth to pieces. He was alone, and I[Marlow] before him did not know whether I stood on the ground or floated in the air”(112). Kurtz had denied any sort of moral convictions in order to be worshipped as a god. Because of this unmonitered power, Kurtz lost all sense of restraint and became the savage that he was. Marlow, however, has not lost his sense of morality. What Marlow rejected in Kurtz was the “complete absence in Kurtz of any innate or transcendental sanctions”(Johnson. 99). It is because of Marlow’s rejection of both the Europeans, who Marlow claims are full of “stupid importance”, and of Kurtz’s inability to establish his own moral code, that Marlow chooses an “alternative reality”(Berthoud. 60). The first time the reader witnesses Marlow’s choice and becomes a centrist, is when he first gets back to Europe. Marlow finds himself resenting the way the Europeans went about their life, “hurrying through the streets to filch a little money from each other…”(120).Not only did he find their lives meaningless, but he mocked them to himself. “I had no particular desire to enlighten them, but I had some difficulty restraining myself from laughing in their faces so full of stupid importance… I tottered about the streets…grinning bitterly at perfectly respectable people. I admit my behavior was inexcusable…”(120). Although Marlow looked down upon these Europeans, he says something remarkable. He judged his own actions and found them ‘inexcusable’. This is his manifestation of breaking away from Kurtz’s extreme. Unlike Kurtz who lacked all restraint and would never find looking down on people bad, Marlow realized that he couldn’t hold it against them simply because they didn’t know better. Clearly, Marlow is edging toward a ‘middle ground’. Despite this act of judgment, the reader doesn’t know exactly where Marlow stands. However, Marlow does something that is the quintessential act of affirmation that he has chose the middle of the two extremes. While aboard the Nellie, Marlow tells his comrades that “I hate, detest, and can’t bear a lie…simply because it appalls me. There is a taint of death, a flavor of mortality in lies…”(44). Towards the end of the novel, Marlow is invited by Kurtz’s fiancee to go to her house to speak of her beloved Kurtz. Upon her asking Marlow what his last words were, Marlow responded “The last word he pronounced was—your name”(131). He lies to her. He does something he utterly detests. This is the event that convinces the reader of Marlow’s uptaking of a middle position. He does look inside himself and use his own personal ability to judge this event. He does what Kurtz had told him. Despite his abhorrence of lies, he judges this situation and decides that it was right to lie. However, he is different from Kurtz. Kurtz did judge every event independently, however, he does it solely based on his own whims. He could not incorporate any objective principles whatsoever in making his decision. Marlow does judge every event independently, however, he can not rely solely on his own creeds. Regardless of his decision, he will always incorporate some objective principles into his judgment. Marlow now creates his ‘alternative reality’ and achieves his truth. When Marlow was exposed to the imperialistic environment of the congo, it had a tremendous effect upon him. The protagonist of Conrad’s novel undergoes a drastic change in response to his environment, common only to that specific time period. Kurtz shows Marlow the flaws in the Europeans imperialistic ideals. Kurtz sees the meaninglessness of European standards of the time, and therefore changes his entire perception and behavior.