Critical essays on heart of darkness

Historically, people have been socialized to accept and adhere to these stereotypes. Women are used in this novella reflect an important aspect of culture: sexism. Heart of Darkness was originally published in , a period where women were facing especially harsh discrimination. Analysis of Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad When Joseph Conrad composed Heart of Darkness he created a literary masterpiece which embodied the essence of light contrasting with darkness.

Critical Analysis of Heart of Darkness ⇒ Free Book Summary

Throughout the novel Conrad constantly utilizes the images of light and dark and uses them to mold a vision, which the reader is then able to use to decipher the literal and metaphorical meanings of the novel. The light and dark images of …show more content…. Within this paragraph Marlow reveals one of his greatest fears. This is the thought of how uncivilized man could survive in the dark time when there was no technology or sophisticated people.

Marlow then goes on to discuss how short and meaningless our lives really are compared to the light of all life and history. As Marlow approaches the African coast, the reader is able to visualize the dusting of colonies left behind by great explorers. These colonies barely survive; they neither expand nor retract as the years continue to pass by. The light of civilization obviously does not belong in a place as blackened with uncivilized cultures as in Africa. The light has been unable to penetrate the darkness.

Joseph Conrad

Once locked within the country Marlow finds his surroundings extremely harsh: The Congo is described as a place of intense mystery whose. Show More.


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Show Less. Email Address. Please enter the letters displayed. Beedham Post-Colonial Literatures M. Much of the criticism that surrounds this novella, according to Patrick Brantlinger, is focused on the European subjects of the text, and therefore renders Africa and its native peoples as a kind of backdrop. Literary critiques of Heart of Darkness that do discuss the African natives tend to portray them as victims rather than having any kind of agency. This latent fear of native resistance demonstrates the fantasy of stability and superiority endemic to imperialism: a narrative that the imperial administration must continually tell itself.

Heart of Darkness Lecture Four: Is This Novel Racist?

However, this article focuses on just the symbols represented by Mr. Kurtz and ivory. Kurtz, one of the leading characters, the other being Marlow, the Kurtz, one of the leading characters, the other being Marlow, the narrator of the soty, represents many symbols in the novel.

Firstly, he symbolizes the greed and the commercial mentality of the white people of the western countries. Secondly, he symbolizes the white man's love of power. Thirdly, the change which comes over him during his stay among the savages symbolizes the influence of barbarism upon a civilized man.


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He also symbolizes experience and maturity. Finally, Mr. Kurtz symbolizes the repentant sinner. Kurtz's relationship with ivory seems to have been reiterated by every company member through the course of the story.

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Literary Criticism Heart of Darkness

Of course Kurtz "harvested" more ivory than all the other stations combined; therefore, it seems appropriate that Joseph Conrad used extensive ivory imagery in describing Kurtz. Ivory is the commodity in which the company's agents are most interested. Ivory in Heart of Darkness becomes an obsession for the members of the Company. The managers and agents of the Company are so obsessed to obtain ivory that they forget about their morals and so-called civilized ways.

Some of the men, especially Mr. Kurtz, get so worked up in gaining ivory that all other morals and sensibility is lost.


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Therefore, it is apt to claim that ivory symbolizes greed and evil. Related Topics. Islamic Terrorism and the Media. Follow Following. Heart of Darkness.

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Joseph Conrad. Media and Cultural Studies. The God of Small Things. Fidelity Theme in Heart of Darkness. Heart of Darkness, Jonathan Conrad. Joseph Conrad Colonialism. Belgian Congo. English Literature.