Heart of Darkness Essays

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30 essay samples found

Racism in the Heart of Darkness

In Joseph Conrad’s novel, Heart of Darkness, there are several reoccurring themes. Out of all the themes that reside in this novel, one stood out. Many instances throughout Heart of Darkness the main character, Marlow, illustrates his surroundings in extensive detail. He describes the Thames River as tranquil and mysterious, Africa as a backdrop, and […]

Pages: 4 Words: 1064 Topics: Culture, Heart of Darkness, Human Nature, Racism

Colonialism and Imperialism in Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness

“It ceased to be a blank space of delightful mystery”a white patch for a boy to dream gloriously over. It had become a place of darkness” (Conrad 71). While Marlow is waiting for the Doctor to begin his physical, he notices a map of Africa, color-coded with the nations who have conquered the lands. Those […]

Pages: 2 Words: 660 Topics: Heart of Darkness
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Symbolism in “Heart of Darkness”

Joseph Conradr’s Heart of Darkness tells the tale of a sailor, a petty trader and commander, as well as a tyrannical company, through symbolic hidden meanings and irony. Ultimately bringing forth, the true meaning of the novella. Throughout Heart of Darkness, How these figurative elements are executed, lures the reader and envelopes them in a […]

Pages: 3 Words: 924 Topics: Heart of Darkness

Capitalism and Human Nature as Portrayed by “Heart of Darkness” 

Throughout time, people of all ideologies and social standings have agreed that poverty is an undeniable hindrance to society at any stage. Marxists, communists, capitalists, and even anarchists across time have all agreed that poverty is the ultimate obstacle to achieving a flourishing society. Adam Smith once said, “No society can surely be flourishing and […]

Pages: 4 Words: 1238 Topics: Capitalism, Heart of Darkness, Karl Marx

The Symbol of Women in the Heart of Darkness

In the novel Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad, women symbolize pretty illusions and the European civilizationr’s capability to hide its bigotry and racism behind pretty ideals. In many areas in the book, women are described to be out of touch with the truth, and oblivious to the horrific events happening around them. This depiction […]

Pages: 4 Words: 1169 Topics: Heart of Darkness

Exposing Ignorance in Heart of Darkness through Feminism

The mentality of male superiority dominates most literature despite recent efforts for gender equality. Many masterpieces praised today contain patriarchal perspectives, particularly historic literature. In Joseph Conradr’s Victorian novel Heart of Darkness, the curious seaman Marlow illuminates the feminist theory through his dismissive attitude towards women and the lack of female presence in his narration, […]

Pages: 2 Words: 492 Topics: Feminism, Gender Equality, Gender, Heart of Darkness, Identity Politics, Social Issues

Power Corruption in Heart of Darkness

Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad tells the tale of numerous lives influenced by the desire of power, and the lust of wealth. Marlow is a sailor who ends up far away from home, away from the restrictions society places on an individual. Marlowr’s journey takes him through the jungle, in which the only thing […]

Pages: 3 Words: 792 Topics: Heart of Darkness

The Role of Women in Heart of Darkness

In Joseph Conradr’s Heart of Darkness, despite the disparaging comments made about women, numerous feminine figures in the story display or exercise a more notable amount of power than the male characters. Joseph Conradr’s, Heart of Darkness, discusses social issues such as racism, sexism, and corruption. The power possessed by the female characters closely relates […]

Pages: 4 Words: 1334 Topics: Heart of Darkness

Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

Though European countries had been invading lesser developed countries for centuries, their involvement in other countries thrived in a period known as the Age of New Imperialism as their thirst for power grew. Author Joseph Conrad, in his novella Heart of Darkness, addresses this topic of imperialism in a social criticism of the European colonization […]

Pages: 2 Words: 457 Topics: Heart of Darkness, Imperialism

Heart of Darkness: Plot Overview

I selected this book for a number of reasons. The first reason is that you the teacher suggested it and you suggested the last book I read for your class. So, I thought that since you had suggested this book that this would be a hit. I also love controversy and the fact that this […]

Pages: 2 Words: 741 Topics: Heart of Darkness, Racism

Heart of Darkness Questions

In the beginning of the novel, Marlowr’s comparison of the barbarian darkness on the northern fringes of the Roman Empire and the Belgian Congo, the dark heart of Africa, are examples of foreshadowing. Towards the beginning, Marlow is imagining what it must have been like for a Roman conqueror to travel through the jungle and […]

Pages: 4 Words: 1341 Topics: Heart of Darkness

More than Just a Heart of Darkness

The Antichrist is quite a peculiar and mysterious character of the Bible, appearing at the end times of man as an asset of the Devil, tasked with leading many away from the light of God. Though referenced only a handful of times in the Bible, the speculation of this ominous creature is broad and extensive, […]

Pages: 8 Words: 2280 Topics: Heart of Darkness

An Exploration of Racism in Heart of Darkness

Joseph Conradr’s Heart of Darkness has been analyzed and critiqued for its misrepresentation of the African race. Some critics have even gone so far as to say that the whole piece itself is racist. While Conrad was not solely responsible for the xenophobic image of Africa, his writing did seem to support the stereotype of […]

Pages: 6 Words: 1933 Topics: Heart of Darkness, Racism

Existentialism in Heart of Darkness

In the novel Heart of Darkness, Conrad explores existential nihilism, which is the belief that the world is without meaning or purpose. Through the protagonist Marlow, Conrad introduces the story of those on board the steamship Nellie that are unaware of their own meaninglessness. Their voyage through the African Congo depicts the absurdity of man’s […]

Pages: 2 Words: 477 Topics: Existentialism, Heart of Darkness, Metaphysics, Nihilism

Response of Heart of Darkness

In the short novel “Heart of Darkness” by Joseph Conrad, the story starts off by talking about the protagonist, Marlow, leading his trip to Africa. Throughout the book, the reader’s experience stories on European colonization, and Africa in general. Chinua Achebe,writer of “An Image of Africa: Racism in Conrad’s Heart of Darkness”, criticizes Conrad’s novel, […]

Pages: 2 Words: 549 Topics: Chinua Achebe, Heart of Darkness, Things Fall Apart

The Dark Colonialism and Racism in Heart of Darkness

In Joseph Conrad’s lifetime, little objectiveness was made over his 1899 novella Heart of Darkness. Be that as it may, Throughout the span of the previous century, Conrad’s once-dark work about a man, Marlow, traveling down the Congo River, has turned out to be a standout amongst the most studied and most examined pieces of […]

Pages: 2 Words: 614 Topics: Heart of Darkness

The Representation of Women in Heart of Darkness

In the novella Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad the main character, Marlow encounters women when most needed in the book. When meeting other imperialists, such as Kurtz, who only cares about himself and his riches, Marlow gains hope as to become like these men, well respected explorers and imperialists. One early critic of the […]

Pages: 2 Words: 711 Topics: Fiction, Heart of Darkness

Colonialism in Heart of Darkness

Heart of Darkness centers around a man named Marlow, an inward – looking sailor, and his journey up the Congo River to meet a man named Kurtz. Marlow takes a job as a riverboat captain for an ivory trading company in the Congo. As Marlow travels through the Congo he sees a lot of carelessness […]

Pages: 3 Words: 884 Topics: Colonialism, Heart of Darkness

The Importance of Setting in Heart of Darkness

Joseph Conradr’s 1899 novella Heart of Darkness is centered about Charles Marlowr’s voyage into the Congo Free State or the Heart of Africa as a riverboat captain. As he remains at the Central Station in the Congo waiting for parts to repair his steamship, he encounters many horrors of the slave trade and more specifically, […]

Pages: 2 Words: 625 Topics: Heart of Darkness

Arguments against Racism in Heart of Darkness

In his essay entitled An image of Africa: Racism in Conrad’s Heart of Darkness Chinua Achebe makes the claim that Joseph Conrad was a ‘thoroughgoing racist’ giving specific examples from Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. This essay will attempt to show that while Heart of Darkness may contain certain racist elements Joseph Conrad was not a […]

Pages: 6 Words: 1745 Topics: Heart of Darkness, Racism

Capitalism and Human Nature as Portrayed by “Heart of Darkness” 

Throughout time, people of all ideologies and social standings have agreed that poverty is an undeniable hindrance to society at any stage. Marxists, communists, capitalists, and even anarchists across time have all agreed that poverty is the ultimate obstacle to achieving a flourishing society. Adam Smith once said, “No society can surely be flourishing and […]

Pages: 4 Words: 1238 Topics: Capitalism, Heart of Darkness, Karl Marx

How Surroundings Affect on Character in Heart of Darkness

In Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness the setting of the Belgian Congo molds Kurtz from a man who had good intentions to a man who forgets those intentions, and almost loses himself, to reveal that human nature is only contained through civilisation. The Belgian Congo of Heart of Darkness is a place of opportunity for […]

Pages: 3 Words: 814 Topics: Culture, Heart of Darkness, Human Nature

A Gain of Wheat Vs Heart of Darkness Comparison

INTRODUCTION At its height the British Empire was a vast communications network and was thoroughly represented as heroic conquerors and civilizers of the world in text. Letters, diaries, memoirs and notebooks from the imperial period (1815-1914) connected worlds and offered home audience information about the explorations on the other side. This way the British produced […]

Pages: 13 Words: 3795 Topics: Heart of Darkness, Imperialism, Narration

Chinua Achebe’s Criticism of Heart of Darkness

Achebe throughout the past has expressed his beliefs on what works of art should do if they should be considered great works, and heart of darkness fails his test by “dehumanized” and “depersonalized” Africa and its people, how Things fall apart properly describes and depicts Africans and how damaging heart of darkness truly was. Achebe […]

Pages: 7 Words: 2010 Topics: Bias, Culture, Fiction, Heart of Darkness

Insights which i Found in a Heart of Darkness

The Antichrist is quite a peculiar and mysterious character of the Bible, appearing at the end times of man as an asset of the Devil, tasked with leading many away from the light of God.  Though referenced only a handful of times in the Bible, the speculation of this ominous creature is broad and extensive, […]

Pages: 8 Words: 2332 Topics: Culture, Heart of Darkness, Human Nature

Stream of Consciousness in Heart of Darkness and the Love Song

The 20th Century was considered the birth place of several modernist literary devices. Of these tools, stream-of-consciousness, simply known as interior monologue, was a misunderstood but widely growing concept used in many literary works. Authors Joseph Conrad and T.S. Eliot applied this tool in their novels Heart of Darkness and The Love Song of J […]

Pages: 5 Words: 1374 Topics: Dream, Heart of Darkness, Modernism

Character Analysis in the Heart of Darkness

The corrupt will always win. This essay shows the comparative and contrasting aspects of two characters, the Brick maker from Heart of Darkness and Cap from The Lonely Londoners. They have been carefully chosen due to the simple fact that they are both “evil” characters in the novels. Both characters in each novel have different […]

Pages: 9 Words: 2766 Topics: Crime, Heart of Darkness, Writing

Heart of Darkness Literature Analysis

 A single moment in a novel is sometimes hard for a reader to consider significant after a quick read. However, a closer look reveals the deliberate choices Joseph Conrad made while writing The Heart of Darkness to convince the reader of how Kurtz has been consumed and overtaken by savagery. The broken up sentences in […]

Pages: 2 Words: 654 Topics: Culture, Heart of Darkness, Human Nature, Imperialism

Heart of Darkness Main Idea

Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness could legitimately be depicted as a withdrawn excursion, remembering insightful change for the explorer. Both figurative and strict excursion was taken on by Marlow, the hero of the novel, into the “heart of dimness”. The excursion makes Marlow question the presence and struggle of light and dull inside every individual. […]

Pages: 2 Words: 520 Topics: Culture, Heart of Darkness, Human Nature

Heart of Darkness Historical Background

While in England somewhere in the range of 1898 and 1899, Joseph Conrad composed the novella Heart of Darkness. Occurring during the stature of European dominion in Africa, Heart of Darkness follows the excursion up the Congo River of Marlow, a steamship chief. Marlow comes to Africa to get away from the exacting bounds of […]

Pages: 5 Words: 1458 Topics: Africa, Colonialism, Culture, Heart of Darkness

Essay About Heart Of Darkness

In Joseph Conrad’s novella, Heart Of Darkness, Conrad explores the plurality of truths of some European companies working during the height of the ivory trade in the 1800s, seizing central parts of Africa along the Congo River. This explores the imperialistic ideas that were expressed throughout Europe and then later placed their ideas into African colonies. Conard also explores the truths through a point of view of a chameleon-like character such as Charles Marlow, that is constantly questioning his morality and persona around characters such as Kurtz. Conard exposes the imperialistic ideas and the horrific treatment that happened to the villagers while away working for the company. Overall, get the attention of Europeans that this is how they get their luxury items and create awareness to future buyers. Questioning if the buyer’s morality alines with the importance of social appearance and the number of items that they own or with human ethics. Not only to prove one’s morality at the time, but the morality of a modern society based on control and power over the weak and incapable human beings. To show people have the ability to be evil even when they believe they do not have the motive to do so. Leaving the question to the readers, if they are any different?

Imperialism is the idea of expanding one’s territory by taking over another country or nation. There are many reasons for imperialism but often times it is for having military bases and having access to natural resources that others do not have. Imperialistic nations that are more dominant and strong, take advantage of smaller underdeveloped, and weaker countries because the weaker nations do not have resources like a strong military to defend themselves against the invader. When the company Marlow works for ships out him and his crew to meet with Kurtz at the inner station, Marlow was told by his crew members that the company does this work as a form of “trading” with an underprivileged nation to support them as well as help the African civilization progress in a more civil society. But that was just a foreshadowing effect setting up for the unexpected casualties waiting for Marlow when he docks to meet Kurtz. As Marlow docks, he notices the ultramasculine persona of Kurtz has when he speaks about the “trading process” with the natives. Kurtz does not hide the fact that he takes things, such as ivory, with force and uses physical abuse with the native Africans. Kurtz believes he does this as a form of controlling the “savages”. Ultimately, using intimidation and violent tactics to prove that the civil ways of the white man are more effective. Dismembering the native’s form of government from a psychological standpoint to show the natives that their leaders are incapable, not strong, and easily destroyed.

This allows Kurtz’s job to be easier, but Marlow seems to stand by and watch the abuse with feeling darkness in his heart and apprehensiveness. As the reader continues to get to know Marlow, he shows to be a compassionate person towards the natives, though he does not express it externally. Yet, with the futility of the situation, Marlow feels he has no choice but to watch. Which also makes the reader question, why he does it so privity? Marlow did serval attempts to show his compassion quietly. He treated the natives well, tried to feed one native a small portion of his meal, but there was one event that makes the reader feel uncertain by the action Marlow made. While on a boat, his helmsman was shot by a spear from a fellow village and Marlow was watching him die. Marlow describe his expression while he was dying and the way how it made Marlow feel, “I had to make an effort to free my eyes from his gaze and attend to the steering.”. Marlow knew that he was going to die even if he helped get the spear out. It shows more about his character when he decides to ignore the death of his helmsman and what he decided to do with his body. Marlow threw his body overboard so the rest of the cannibals on board would not eat the body. Though the initial action does sound cruel to the reader, Marlow’s intention seems sincere to protect the body from being eaten. His connection with his helmsman might not have been strong but the idea of Marlow’s view, seeing the “savages” eating on a body would have made him feel that it was his fault for letting his body be abused as so instead of letting the body be.

Marlow’s questionable actions do have answers to why he does everything. During the time, it was a social norm to be cruel to the slaves working for the company. Though Marlow did not believe in his heart that it was the correct way of doing things, but he still let the abuse happen. Conrad made Marlow the key to this novella. Imperialism and futility go hand and hand. The darkness in ones heart, such as Marlow’s heart is full with the guilt that he had and including the empathy for the natives yet, he did nothing about it to help them get out or stand up for them. Many other people, like Conrad during the time did not believe this was a moral way to treat humans. Conrad purpose was to expose the uncovered truths of the trading business and human behavior, taking a huge influence from when he traveled to the Congo himself. The underlying truth is that a person will act cruel if there is no requirement to treat anyone well. Even if their morality goes against treating a person badly, they will still do it because they have control just like Marlow. Conrad showed that people can be incentive “savages”. Conrad wanted to prove that everyone is capable of evil. Even when people believe they are not capable of doing evil thing or having evil intentions. Subconsciously, whenever we have the opportunity of doing evil things to other people, knowing we do not have consequences because they have the control and power, they are not going to stop since the feeling of power is addictive. Conrad took his own experience with evil deeds during his time in the Congo to spread awareness that everyone, no matter of the amount of morality or the belief that one is a good person. Everyone has the capability to do evil things if someone does not have consequences when they have the power to control the punishment of others actions.

Imperialism and fruitily can go beyond just taking over nations for the benefit of ones self. But it can be placed in any life or death situation. Conrad wrote the novella in a time were it was contraverty and a unusual topic to have different opinions on. Though, the plot can be placed in any day to day situation. Many examples would be, a fellow co-worker got a promotion and they are feeling intitled to treat people with disrespect, even when before their promotion they did not treated anyone that way. It is protective of the powerful, once people are given such a job it gets in their head. Conrad also places the good within the evil, Marlow, but he still has evil in his heart. Marlow is confused on his place within the society in the Congo. He wants to be a good person yet, he does the opposite. Now, the reader many say why so? Well it is the imperialism ideas and the strict entitlement of those around him that makes him not want to act upon his feels to protect the slaves out if fear of some sort of punishment from Kurtz or any other leader from the company. Conrad uses Marlow as a weighting tool, to measure the good vs evil. One thing can tilt the scale and make him feel better about himself and also make the reader feel good about his actions and the type of character he is. But on the other hand, He contradicts himself which also tilts the scale, which makes the reader question his character again. Conrad knows that no one can be all good when it comes to this situation with imperialism and fear, because people fall short out of fear of being punished. But does this mean that the entire human race is evil? Yes, it does. Marlow does do good deeds but is it enough? Conrad makes this notably when Marlow does nothing to help the slaves get to freedom or some type of safety. Which overall, is the theme of the novella, the darkness in ones heart is when a action is committed but the action is not enough, is has left a whole to be filled with the deed that was meant to help the weak in that situation. Marlow was meant to help the slaves but did not out of fear which cause him in the end to go mad. In conclusion, this novella was meant for self-reflection on the parts of ourselves that we believe to be good but aren’t. Humanity is to blame for all the ugliness in the world that will leave our heart in darkness. 

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