Heart Of Darkness By Conrad Heart of Darkness, written by Joseph Conrad, holds thematically a wide range of references to problems of politics, morality and social order. It was written in a period when European exploitation of Africa was at a gruesome height. Conrad uses double oblique narration. A flame narrator reports the story as told by Marlow, assigned to the command of a river steamboat scheduled to transport an exploring expedition. Kurtz is a first-agent at an important trading post of ivory, located in the interior of the Congo.
Both Marlow and Kertz found the reality through their work in Africa. Marlow felt great indignation with people in the sepulchral city after his journey to the Congo region because he discovered, through his work, the reality of the universe, such as the great virtue of efficiency, the darkness in society and individuals and the surface reality. When Kurtz found himself on his deathbed and he said gThe horror, The horror referring to his life in inner Africa, which caused him disintegration. Marlow emphasized the virtue of gefficiencyh throughout the story because he thought of it as the only way to survive in the wilderness.
After seeing the dying natives in the forest of the outer station, Marlow described them as ginefficient.h Under gthe devotion to efficiency,h incompetent people were excluded from society. Only efficient people can survive. For example, since Kurtz was the most efficient agent, with regards to producing ivory, his employers respected his achievement and regarded him as an essential person. However, once he fell into disintegration, he was considered no more the than dying natives and thus was treated as if he were dead.
He was then buried in the darkness. The symbol of inefficiency was the color green. Marlow illustrated a picture of dying natives, when he said, g[They were] black shadows of disease and starvation lying confusedly in the greenish gloomh(20). Another example of inefficiency is shown in the description of the body of Marlowfs predecessor as gThe grass growing through his ribs was tall enough to hide his bonesh(13). Marlow realized the real darkness did not existed in Africa but in Europe, and not in Africans but in Europeans who engaged in colonial exploitation, including Kurtz. Due to the nativesf physical features and customs like cannibalism, Marlow defined Africans as the darkness.
On the other hand, he considered Europeans as the light because of his illusions of civilization. After witnessing the evil practices of the colonizers in the Congo, Marlow discovered the moral darkness in whites. European invaders in Africa dehumanized natives under the name of enlightenment for the sake of profit. They practiced no moral laws and inflicted callous and barbaric cruelty on indigenous people.
Marlowfs description of the Companyfs offices in Paris revealed his discovery: A narrow and deserted street in deep shadow, high houses, innumerable windows with venetian blinds, a dead silence, grass sprouting between the stones, imposing carriage archways right and left, immense double doors standing ponderously ajarh(13). Moreover, the older woman at the offices was like a gatekeeper of gDarkness.h These descriptions indicated that the real darkness was in greedy whites, who were without moral sense, thus dark-skinned natives were victims of darkness of whites. Through his work in the Congo, Marlow found only gsurface truths,h which had been adulterated and concealed by European culture, not core truths. The reason why gthe meaning of episode [for him is] not inside like a kernel but outsideh(9) was that Marlowfs viewpoint was trapped in these surface truths. He could not touch the inside of the kernel because he did not go deep enough.
Furthermore, he just watched and judged things from the outside. Marlow expressed, htruth stripped of its cloak of time c -the man knows and can look on without a wink. But he must meet at least be as much as of a man as these on the shore. He must meet that truth with his own true stuff-with his own inborn strengthh(38). Not only did he have a fear of natives, but also he refused to be like them.
Since natives were, for Marlow, savage and mean-spirited fellows, he would not debase himself. Marlow used work as a pretext. Mowever, he acquired gsurface truthsh in the Congo region by handling the steamboat in the gfiendish row.h On the other hand, Kurts went to natives and found the heart of darkness in him, which was the primal reality of a deeper region of his mind. Kurtz brought moral ideas to the wilderness.
He said early in his work, gEach station should be like a beacon on the road towards better things, a center for trade of course but also for humanizing, improving, instructingh(34). However, he found immorality of Europeans in Africa. Moral ideas, which formed Kurtzfs identity, were destroyed. He lost his personality and rejected his humanity and the materialism of the West. Shoes symbolized Western civilization: Kurtz used a shoelace to tie letters together.
It showed that Kurtz renounced things related to the West. As a result, he became egoistic and ivory-obsessed. In addition, his life became meaningless and empty. Being hollow at his core, Kurtz was fascinated by gthe heavy mute spell of the wilderness that seemed to draw him to its pitiless breast by the awakening of forgotten and brutal instincts by the memory of gratified and monstrous passion(65). The wilderness has power to turn Kurtzfs heart black.
Kertz made a pact with diabolic forces, which lurk within the jungle and then became depraved and deranged. Although he could not be totally evil, he massacred indigenous people and stole ivory from them without restraint. He alternated between being evil and struggling his former idealism. On his deathbed, Kurtz realized what he did to natives and himself and found himself as an incarnate of greed that lacked self-restraint. Hence, Kurtz cried gThe horror, The horror.h The gdarknessh of this novelfs title refers to many kind of darkness: moral corruption, ignorance, savagery.
In the heart of darkness in Africa, Marlow found the sordid exploitation of arrogance Europeans. They were not only mere avaricious but inefficient people in the jungle. Marlow did not find truths, the darkness in him, whereas Kurtz discovered it. Although the discovery of such reality was gpaid for by innumerable defeats, by abominable terrors, by abominable satisfactions(70), as Marlow said.
Kurts personified the evil latent in man. Under immorality and the demonic force circumstances, the darkness of onefs mind can be unleashed.