The novel Heart of Darkness is English literature work written by Joseph Conrad. The novel expresses its meaning on the literal and the symbolic stages. The story is centered on Marlow, a thoughtful sailor and his trip to meet Kurtz up the Congo River. The two are the main characters in the text. The novel pictures the European colonization dark side and at the same time discovering the different phases of darkness that the leading character Marlow encounters. That is; the darkness related to the European unkind administration, the darkness associated with the wilderness of Congo, and the deep darkness contained by every individual for committing terrible proceedings of evil. As a result, this paper precisely examines Conrad’s count between Africans and Europeans. In addition, it proves on Conrad’s believe concerning his count and finally analyzes how characterization contribute to the theme of the novel.
Conrad’s is criticized for his racism which he articulates through the selection of words, ignorance, difference, and imagery as the novelist by readers. With connection to this, Conrad’s count is merely concentrated on the differences between Africans and Europeans and linking the two in a resemblance as in the text. According to his words, the two worlds are very opposite thus he supports this by saying that, Africa is contradictory of Europe in terms of civilization, brainpower and humankind. As the author, he truly believes in the count of differences between Europe and Africa and he proves this through narration of his tale in the text.
The surety of Conrad’s suggestions towards his count on the difference between the Europeans and Africans is simply evidenced on his words which he uses to describe Africans in the novel. Through analyzing Conrad’s major characters Marlow and Kurtz, surety is developed for the readers to see, since his hatred and prejudice to the black race and the questioning of African - American humanity is highly featured. His writing style greatly symbolizes his expressions and revelations especially towards the count differences between the two worlds.
He uses horrifying metaphors and puts into terrifying word facts in a spiritual voice that differentiates successfully the truth of his stand concerning the count of the difference. Further, he employs prophesy and suspense in amplifying the excitement of the novel. This, he does in order to favor the Europeans race that he considers being superior, civilized, intelligent, and full of humanity as opposed to their counterparts. All the way through his novel, he mirrors the thoughts, humanity, and behaviors of Europeans and Africans as been totally different from each other.
In one instance, Conrad considers the Africans as been dehumanized and as savage cannibals who have no rights of expression in the text. This statement draws his stand in the believing in the count of differences between Europe and Africa. Marlow’s discrimination for considering Africans as hollow individuals indicates Africans are underrated and hated since they are not civilized. Conrad reasonably exemplifies the authority of civilization, importance of the age of colonialism, and equality among individuals.
Conrad’s reveals the theme of the novel through characterization and symbolism. This is made possible through examining characters role and involvement towards the main theme. There are several themes in the novel but the most important one is that of darkness which is illustrated through characterization. The novel contains several characters but Marlow and Kurtz are the protagonists who contribute highly to the theme of the novel. The theme of the novel illustrates white’s dominance over the blacks in a perspective where the whites are seen as civilized while the blacks are believed to be savages. When relating characterization of the novel to the contribution of theme, it is worth to be looked from the rivers of Congo and Thames where the narration is based (Conrad, 2009).
The protagonists understand the disgust that conceals following the decoration of culture and each day life. The novelist uses these aspects to come up with the main idea following the tale and make it marked to the reader. (Conrad, 2009). Conrad develops the characteristics of the characters throughout his story in order to show the contribution of Characterization towards the theme. Description in the novel truly enlightens that darkness hides confident acts of savages. It is easy to function in the wrap of area darkness in approaches that would be difficult in the civilized Europe.
Without a doubt, darkness appears to permeate the work; the background of the novel is frequently dark, such as when Kurtz is retrieved by Marlow. Marlow starts his story in the bright day but it later ends in darkness in the Thames River. Just as the saying goes, “darkness symbolizes the unknown,” the darkness increases its control from its capability to hide things which human beings are afraid to face. Throughout the narration, many characters are featured with the fear of not only facing the darkness, but fearing what lies inside it.
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Marlow characterization derives us to scene of men who are afraid of loud cry that emerges around them. It is evident that, they are afraid since they know there is possible danger coming of which they can’t see it because the darkness is in control. Marlow meets the risks of a threatening wilderness and the individual it holds in its clutch. His voyage educates him that the most dangerous place is not in the wilderness, but the spirit of people who surrender to the immorality desires.
It is through characterization that we realize how persuasive darkness is. For instance, Marlow decides to travel to the area following the fact that he comes across a map which describes the region as one of the mostly unexplored territory left. According to him, he sees Congo as a country where he can take exploration. Also, Kurtz is embraced by the power of darkness. Following his familiarity in Congo, he is wholly changed and thus he sees his own possible for savagery and has received it. Through their white clothes, the Europeans try to escape the darkness hence try to adopt their civilization and morals. Unfortunately for them, through characterization we realize that the darkness is persistent.
Through the tale of Marlow, we note that London was sometimes a dark region of the globe and later illustrates how rapidly the forest cultivated its territory. This mention proposes that in future Europe also will be cultivated by nature that is, the brightness of culture will sooner or later go back to darkness. The reading of the text therefore indicates that the black people turn out to be symbols of a dark central nature that Marlow must deal with and have power over. As for Kurtz, the inhabitants are the protrusions of his insensible life and power which the cultured chains of Europe have made him to pay no attention to.