lighthod Voyage into the Darkness in Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness


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Voyage into the Heart of Darkness        

 

The voyage into the "Heart of Darkness" is told to us through the eyes of Charlie Marlow. As Marlow is aboard the "Nellie" he tells his story of expedition and growth. The men on the boat sit still yet bored. Marlow is like an old man sharing a story of his childhood, that for himself may be of great significance, and lead to a lesson, but the children yearn to hear a story of magic, castles and sword fights. Joseph Conrad uses Marlow's character to get across and express his own opinion.

The story Marlow shares with the other men, is a story of reflection. It is a mirror, like most experiences are. Experiences in our lives that teach us and reveal something in our lives that had to be fixed. In this case Marlow (or Conrad) uses Africa as the mirror into the hearts of early Europeans that wished to colonize and only help profit the "less unfortunate". What was it exactly that this unchartered land had in store for Marlow?

As Marlow tells his story we see and understand the situations Marlow faced. In his first encounter with the tribes men, Marlow steps into a "gloomy circle of some inferno", where dark figures surrounded him. He compares this incident with that of a massacre, the starving and wasting bodies lying in "confusion". Marlow then encounters a young black boy with a piece of white cotton string tied around his neck. This simple piece of string symbolizes the young boy's innocence. Shortly after Marlow offers the boy a biscuit, another one of the shapes approaches the river , crawling, and drinks of the water. Marlow could not stand the sight of the suffering any longer. It was as though he felt what they were feeling and just when he was willing to help, he stands up and walks away. The path where Marlow meets those that had traveled to an unknown land, and walked uncertain of where they where but sure of what they wanted, started here.

The patchwork young man ,( the Russian) is the only one in the jungle without an interest in gaining something out of the jungle, except for his own "breathing space". His devotion for Kurtz is an admiration out of ignorance and perhaps even innocence. Through the Russian Marlow learns a great deal about who Kurtz really is.

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"lighthod Voyage into the Darkness in Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness." 123HelpMe.com. 18 Jan 2018
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The way Marlow describes the young man is quite different from any other descriptions. "...and the sunshine made him look extremely gay and wonderfully neat withal, because you could see how beautifully all his patching had been done." This must be one of the "brightest" descriptions made in the whole story. Most of what Marlow describes he describes in a serious tone and a gloomy setting, but yet this one stands out. Though this young man was not one that was rich, or highly educated he played an important role in helping Kurtz, even though Kurtz threatened to kill him, and helping Marlow in his quest.

We are introduced to many "villains" throughout the story. Unlike the common story where we are presented with a villain and a character that plays a role of someone that might relate to the reader. Yet in "Heart of Darkness" Conrad worked differently. He used the villains to reflect what it is that man was doing at his time and what man is currently doing. This story portrays the many faces of a villain through characters we may see everyday. Perhaps the author wants the reader to see how man creates his own corruption. From the beginning of time man has fallen into sin, here we are presented with men that are unable to resist the temptation of accomplishing his own selfish desires. Kurtz knows exactly what he is allowing to happen, when he allows himself to be worshiped and admired as some sort of god. Kurtz also knows the nature of the company. He acknowledges all the greed working behind it and accepts it .Perhaps this is what Kurtz sees at his death, or one of the many things Marlow realizes through everything he had seen in the darkness of the jungle.

 


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