• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Heart of Darkness - The Named and the Unnamed

Extracts from this document...


The Named and the Unnamed Joseph Conrad's masterpiece, The Heart of Darkness, speaks of many characters with many different characteristics and personalities. It contains characters from all standings of society. In every case, except for Marlow and Kurtz, the characters are referred to by their position. Albeit the name of Fresleven, the man who commanded the steam boat on the Congo before Marlow, is mentioned, he is dead. The only characters that are called by name after that point are Marlow and Kurtz. These characters are set apart from the others in the novella. They are the two main characters of the story, however, there is something else that makes these two figures worthy of being called by name. Marlow and Kurtz are the only ones named because they do not hide who they are, everybody else does not see the truth, and they are the only ones who achieve enlightenment. ...read more.


The two men are not afraid to openly show themselves. Although the Europeans possess great knowledge of the world, they are blinded to the truth in this story. They do not see the folly and the truth that is around them. The women of the story serve as an example of this. Material possessions and the simplicity of their lives are the extent of what they see. If ivory is coming to them, they think that everything is going well. They do not realize what is behind getting the ivory. This is shown when Marlow and his aunt are speaking of the people of Africa. His aunt speaks of how the Europeans were "weaning those ignorant millions from their horrid ways." Marlow, who is not living the same lie as her and says to the reader, "It's queer how out of touch with truth women are." This can be taken as a sexist remark, however, the comment holds truth behind it. ...read more.


Marlow comes to the conclusion that Kurtz has not been able to show the restraint needed in order to remain sane in the jungle. Marlow is enlightened on the fact that when seeing the truth in life there is a decision to make. The two choices he has are to avoid society and run away, as Kurtz did, or to remain in society and show restraint. It is not possible for the other characters, the fools of society, to be enlightened because they do not see the truth and can never comprehend enlightenment. Only Marlow and Kurtz accomplish this. Having a name sets the most exceptional characters apart from everybody else. They show that they should be named by not hiding their true character, seeing the truth while others cannot, and by receiving enlightenment. There is no reason to call the other characters by name because they are blinded to the truth. The named, however, have a certain extra understanding which makes them worth naming. The unnamed are made that way to set Kurtz and Marlow apart because the two are unique people. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Joseph Conrad section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Joseph Conrad essays

  1. The Heart of Darkness Marlow's story of the Roman Conquest of Britain as an ...

    the citizens it was the same way that the Roman soldiers treated the English citizens and that caused him to think that all of the things that England is saying to the World about developing Africa in being a better country.

  2. Representation of Women In Heart of Darkness.

    She seemed to know all about them and about me too." Knowledge is a type of power: knowing things that others don't or before others, puts you ahead and makes you more aware. One of the women was described as having "...

  1. How does the preparation for the river journey at the start of Heart of ...

    Also when he says its tail lost in the depths of the land this phrase says the deeper in the river goes in land the darker it will be. Within the novel there is an association with death e.g. when it says dead at the centre.

  2. Heart of Darkness. Discuss the variety of ways in which the title of ...

    As Marlow travels further into the unknown, the Congo and the sense of colonialism changes him. He starts to see the black natives as 'savages' and less as humans, but more as animals. He loses touch with reality and starts to feel and discover his own heart of darkness.

  1. Comparing "The Darkness Out There" by Penelope Lively, with "The Black Veil" by Charles ...

    However they are quite a few differences which separate them as in 'The Darkness Out There' the story is basically using Mrs Rutter's secret to drive the plot and when she reveals her secret the tension rises. "The Black Veil" is more of a horror story than "The Darkness Out

  2. Discuss The Title Of Conrad's Novel 'Heart Of Darkness'.

    the world, a point Kurtz reaches, but Marlow didn't, showing Marlow to be a stronger and more restrained than Kurtz The novel opens on the river Thames, at the centre of the most civilised city on the planet, London, and centres around a ship anchored on the river.

  1. Comparisons Between the Development of the Subconscious in Characters in Gordimer's July's People and ...

    Bamford Smales, Smales, Caprano & Partners, Architects. Maureen Hetherington from Western Area Gold Mines. Under 10s Silver Cup for Classical and Mime at the Johannesburg Eisteddfod" (2). Marlow's reaction to primitive conditions is different because, rather than being forced into his journey, his was one chosen for himself to escape

  2. The overall view of human nature in heart of darkness shown through the characters.

    The pilgrims, meanwhile, are shown as the typical colonizers. The pilgrims have no value for the life of another person, they show this when they shoot the natives for fun. They kill the people just because they are alive. Killing people just for the fun of it takes human cruelty past the limit.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work