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Heart Of Darkness Critical Analysis

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Introduction

Critical Study of Text (Heart of Darkness) Heart of Darkness ? Joseph Conrad Heart of Darkness explores many themes throughout the book which can be related to one another such as ?Identity? and ?Darkness? Joseph Conrad depicts these themes through the use of symbolism and how the narrator thinks and speaks. Joseph Conrad uses a diverse range of symbolism throughout the novel to communicate a deeper message within, it allows readers to think more in depth and make a connection to its meaning. It could also the message easier to understand. In Heart of Darkness there are two narrators, the first is unknown but opens the scene and through him we are introduced with Marlow, who himself is recounting his story; this indicates that almost everything in the book will be a reflection of his thoughts and what he sees, this leads into the first theme of discussion: Identity. Heart of Darkness is enriched with the focus of identity, as it follows throughout the whole of Marlow?s journey. One could say that ?Heart of Darkness? is about finding ones identity. ...read more.

Middle

Another important symbol linking to the theme of identity is Kurtz. Many ideas of identity, such as ?Loss of Identity? and ?creating a false identity? can relate back to Kurtz. Many could say that as Kurtz lost his humanity in the jungle, this is shown through the ?symbolic? heads on the pikes. Marlow states that ?they only showed that Mr Kurtz lacked restraint in the gratification of his various lusts? the wilderness had found him out early, and taken on him a terrible vengeance for the fantastic invasion.? . This basically means that Kurtz?s disruptive stay at the jungle lead him to insanity thus losing his ?civilisation? or his identity. Darkness is also one of the major themes in the book. Readers can immediately see the dark context within the book. The theme of darkness basically is self-explanatory, throughout the book there is an absence of happiness, purity, compassion etc. The main idea of darkness is shown through what Marlow had learnt through his journey which is that there is darkness within every human, and that is a connection between all humans of every race and colour, no matter how civilised or how educated. ...read more.

Conclusion

Marlow describes the atmosphere as an ?Incomprehensible frenzy?, this directly supports the physical theme of darkness. Another technique Joseph Conrad uses to reinforce the idea of darkness is through how Marlow thinks and speaks. The tone throughout the book is serious and to the point, when Marlow describes he uses powerful words to help readers visualise or feel both empathetic and sympathetic, an example of this is when his helmsman dies he describes it as ?? a pool of blood lay very still, gleaming dark-red under the wheel; his eyes shone with an amazing lustre, He looked at me anxiously gripping the spear like something precious, with an air of being afraid.? Conrad uses excessive description to apply this technique. He chooses words that constantly remind the notion of darkness upon readers. It can be evidently shown that throughout the book Joseph Conrad uses the narrative voice of Marlow and countless symbols to present his views and opinions on the ideas of Identity and Darkness. Conrad specifically utilizes the meaning of each and every word in the novel and can give both clear and distorted depictions which reinforce his ideas and the themes of ?Heart of Darkness?. Tommy Hwang 11EA3 ...read more.

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