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Explore how the authors present the 'darkness' of the human heart and the savagery of human nature at the removal of civilization. In Lord of the Flies and Heart of Darkness.

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Explore how the authors present the 'darkness' of the human heart and the savagery of human nature at the removal of civilization. Lord of the Flies and Heart of Darkness attempt to deal with the notion of 'darkness' in human hearts. The novels themselves are actually very diverse, in terms of context, however the settings and the themes are comparable, and both seem to have the same underlying message. The darkness of the situations in the novels are contrasted to the luminosity of society to show man's dependence on western morals, and how when these morals are challenged by the darkness, the light crumbles under its newly weakened foundation, reflecting the clear collapse of human nature when they are taken away from 'normality'. The distinction between light and dark is most stark in the themes of both novels. Lord Of The Flies describes in detail the horrific exploits of a band of young children who make a striking transition from civilized to barbaric. Tracing the faults in society to the faults in the individual person. Golding perceives each individual to have an evil inner nature poorly covered by society. If the society is taken away, then the inner nature comes out and the chaos and lawlessness erupt. Each person has an evil nature and is capable of committing heinous crimes. Heart Of Darkness deals with the dark heart of mankind. Conrad in his book tells us that man is inherently evil and his evils are only veiled by civilization. The theme throughout both novels is that society holds everyone together, and without these conditions, our ideals, values, and the basics of right and wrong are lost. ...read more.


Kurtz can be viewed as a tragic hero, someone who aspires to a greatness and fulfillment, which his human condition prevents his from attaining. Marlow himself offers a good example of the complexity of human behaviour and of the impossibility of man to remain untainted by evil. Although he was rational enough to understand what is going on in this new environment and had not been fully subjected to this chaos of the African Congo, he is not without his contradictions. His most obvious contradiction is when he says he 'detests and can't bear a lie', and then significantly, he lies to Kurtz's Intended. These contradictions indicate that Joseph Conrad creates human beings as they are, not as they ought to be. The language in both books is very effective in creating this sense of 'darkness' and 'evil'. He portrays terrifying images and conveys horrifying truths in a mystic voice that contrasts effectively with the true horrors of his message. "Death sulking in the air, in the water, in the bush. They must have been dying like flies here." Conrad is able to create an atmosphere of almost supernatural dread in the depth of the jungle. In The Lord of the Flies, Golding's language is neutral. However, it is simple and it is as if he is telling the story himself rather than writing prose. Golding makes his novel come alive with a significant use of symbolism, psychological development, and general truths. His writing style is simple but the subject matter is deep. He uses a rather comparatively simple story to convey a weighty idea. The style and tone of the novel is one, which reflects Golding's pessimism of the natural state of human beings. ...read more.


The use of Africa as an inner, unknown, territory is not new, other authors on novels have used it. The plot of Heart Of Darkness, the voyage from Outer to Central to Inner Station, symbolizes a journey into the self. The painting at the Central Station is perhaps the most extensive symbol in the novel. The painting is of a blindfolded woman carrying a lighted torch, which distorts her face. The woman likely symbolizes the Europeans who have come to civilize the natives. The torch she carries represents the European customs and values that they try to force upon the native Africans. The woman is blindfolded because the Europeans cannot "see" the negative effects that their customs have on the natives. Her face has become distorted because, to the natives, the European customs seem rather repulsive. The books imply that every man has a heart of darkness that is usually drowned out by the light of civilization. When removed from civilized society, the raw evil of untamed lifestyles within his soul will be unleashed. Thereby suggesting that civilization is superficial. It is a much less stable or permanent state than society may think. It is this theme, which both authors strive to make clear and apparent. Both novels portray this idea of inherent 'darkness' within each person, which is very thinly disguised and masked by civilization. Through the elaborate use of language and imagery Conrad is able to present the perfect setting to tell his tale, and create this very sinister, evil, atmosphere which goes perfectly in hand with the moral of the tale. Golding through the simplicity of his language is able to put across this feeling of hopelessness and despondency due to the horrors, which take place in this paradise like island, making it a backdrop of evil and brutality. ...read more.

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