Heart of Darkness – By Joseph Conrad
Heart of Darkness – By Joseph Conrad

Heart of Darkness – By Joseph Conrad

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  • Pages: 25 (12716 words)
  • Published: November 25, 2017
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Heart of Darkness essay Sample 1

 

The ‘haze’ of the novel is introduced on the very first page, reiterated by the ‘gloom’ and the ‘misty halos’ the prospect of hidden, dark and mystifying secrets establish the grounds for discovery and draw the reader in very early on.

The way Conrad opens the novel with this ‘haze’ combined with the ‘sunken cheeks [and] yellow complexion’ of Marlow indicate that that the story told will not end in light, but in darkness; this leaves a shadow over the whole novel, but, however entices the reader into understanding the becoming of this darkness, which is connected to the way Marlow is enticed into the Heart of Darkness.This is because darkness gai

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ns its power from its ability to conceal things Marlow is too frightened to face. The beginning of the novel is correlates powerfully with the opening of Conrad’s fourth chapter in The Nigger of the Narcissist. Based around the journeys of sailors too, Conrad attempts to explain the effect of the sea on a seaman; in The Nigger and the Narcissist the ‘immortal sea confers in its justice the full privilege of desired unrest.

.. ot permitted to meditate’, this contrasts highly with the mooring of the Nellie on land making the men feel ‘meditative’, and therefore highlights the impact of the freshwater journey and enlightens the reader further into the causes of Marlow’s state and darkness. Furthermore, this is exaggerated by the description that of the sea by the unknown narrator: ‘..

. mistress of his existence and as inscrutable as destiny’.This shows that Marlow is dependant on the sea as the sea’s depth and complexity is so great that you don’t question anything about the meaning of life – ie meditate. This darkness demonstrated at the opening chapter is connected to the way Conrad goes beyond chiaroscuro in this novel, and makes the main themes more apparent by comparing and contrasting the darkness with light and the distinctions such as inward and outward, civilised and savaged are also brought into question.This is shown for example when the journey is described as a ‘glow which brings out a haze’ and how is is ‘..

. detestable. And in Fascination too’. The contrast between London tand the surrounding land and sea is an example of strong chiaroscuro where the ‘greatest town on earth’ is corresponding to be the gateway to civilization, starkly contrasted to the bleak and mysterious surroundings ‘the mist on the Essex marshes’.

Chiaroscuro establishes a sense of unwanted lust for the discovery and of the journey, and it is this which makes the beginning of Marlow’s story even more appealing to the reader while being even darker and ‘inconclusive’. As Conrad gets deeper into the nove

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and the plot, the language also starts to fragment into trails of thought rather than sentences; this is vital as it represents the way the deeper Marlow goes into his story and his Heart of Darkness, the more you question your existence and therefore start to go mad, reducing any sense previously obtained. What redeems it is an idea only.An idea at the back of it; not a sentimental pretence but an idea; and an unselfish belief in that idea-something you can set up, and bow down before, and offer sacrifice to.

.. ‘; the structure of his words are fluid, showing helplessness in what he is about to say, more significantly Marlow’s speech then breaks off – it does not trail away – and it breaks off because the suggestions of the image he has just used are reminiscent of his past and therefore harmful. What is dominant in this opening passage is the theme of Imperialism.

The impacts to the colonised ‘savages’ are not made clear, however, the impacts to the Europeans are highlighted sharply; they are removed from civilised society and forced to become wild, mad and violent. He makes it clear that the Romans were conquerors not colonists, highlighting that they have no objective than to get all they can: ‘when the romans first came here… ‘. This reference to the Roman conquest offers an obvious parallel between it and the colonisation of the Congo where the Romans also felt the ‘utter savagery’ of barbaric Britain close around them.

Connected with imperialism, Marlow starts to talk about his childhood and his ‘passion for maps’; he speaks of ‘blank spaces’ and how desirable these unknown lands are, this corresponds to the way that the unknown is the most desirable and Marlow’s desire for the terra incognita lies parallel to his desire to go deep into our existence. The map is there as a symbol, even though the land he’s going to is known, the world is still ignorant and refuses to be knowledgeable of it, similar to the way humans cast aside deep questions by occupying our lives with structure and no time to question.Marlow then starts to describe the Company’s sinister headquarters and how he ‘slipped through one of the cracks’ to enter the building; this implies that the Company is figuratively closed in terms of allowing the public knowledge of its operations. The two black women which he describes knitting black wool resembles the fate of the Greek myth of Clothco and Lachesis, who spin and measure the thread of each life before Apropos cuts the wool.The wool is black implying that the company is knitting the fate of the Africans and therefore playing God on deciding who in the Congo will live or die.

Related to this, careless way of treating death, Marlow is then led into a dimly lit office-this lighting reflects the “shady” and ambiguous morals of the Company- and is significant because he only speaks with the Company’s President for forty-five seconds, suggesting that the Company views Marlow-and other people-as disposable.Finally, one of the most stirring parts of these first ten pages is the examination

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