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Joseph Conrad - author review

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Introduction

Joseph Conrad was an author whose life was as equally amazing as the stories he wrote. In many cases, he derived the situations he wrote about from his many experiences as a seaman and adventurer. "The Heart of Darkness" was written in 1898 and 1899 and published in 1902. Conrad's setting of a "night journey" into the Congo becomes an appropriate metaphor. This "Heart of Darkness" portrayed the heart of darkness found in every man. The insights gained by Marlow into the condition of the human heart are the same insights gained by a careful, thoughtful reader. As Marlow makes his way to Kurtz's camp and his knowledge of the savage land is deepened. His experiences and knowledge gained expanded our understanding of the inherent darkness within every man. In other words: In our deepest nature, all men are savage. "Heart of Darkness" focuses on a similar problem (the image of darkness" echoing the resonance of blackness in the previous story), although were what threatened is not only the group, but also the individual".1 We are told early in the story is insurable that is, he is incapable of being understood. Fortunately Marlow does tell us how he feels about the things that happen around him. Although we may not understand him, at least we know whose side is on. ...read more.

Middle

It was an extraordinary find. Its title was, An Inquiry into some points of Seamanship, by a man Tower, Towson".6 "Some fifty miles below the Inner Station we came upon a hut of reeds, an inclined and melancholy pole, with unrecognizable tatters of what had been a flag of some sort flying from it, and a neatly stacked wood pile. This was unexpected. We came to the bank, and on the stack of firewood found a flat piece of board with some faded pencil writing on it".7 The pilgrims are afraid the natives in the jungle will attack. The cannibals who are working on the river boat hope they will. When Marlow's asks them why they want to fight the natives, the cannibals reply that they want to catch them and eat them. My comments on this phrase can be divided into two reasons. First, to illustrate Conrad's idea about cannibalism which was generally accepted in his day although it appears amusing and old fashioned to us. Of course we know that cannibalism is primarily a ritualistic action and has nothing to do with satisfying the hunger for food. Conrad however assumes that the cannibals enjoy human flesh. The second comment is much more important. If the cannibals do enjoy human as food, and we know their own supply for food hippo meat has long since gone bad, what was prevented them from devouring the pilgrims long ago? ...read more.

Conclusion

Meanwhile for Marlow that represents the civilized soul that has not been drawn back into savagery by a dark alienated jungle. Every man has inside himself a heart of darkness. This heart is drowned in a bath of light shed by the advent of civilization. No man is an island, and no man can live on an island without becoming a brutal savage. Inside his heart lies the raw evil of untamed lifestyles. From the novel, we are given the pieces to a vast and complicated puzzle. What are we to do with them? As with any puzzle, we examine the pieces to see how they fit together between fictions and reality in this novel. 1 Conrad. The Moral World of the Novelist, 1978. R.A. Gekoski: Paul Elek. London.pg.73 2 Heart of Darkness & Other Stories,1999. Joseph Conrad. Wordsworth Classic. Pg.33 3 Heart of Darkness & Other Stories,1999. Joseph Conrad. Wordsworth Classic. Pg.61 4 Joseph Conrad- a collection of criticism.Ed. Frederick R. Karl, 1927. Mc Graw-Hill paperbacks. pg. 37 5 Heart of Darkness & Other Stories,1999. Joseph Conrad. Wordsworth Classic. Pg.63 6 Heart of Darkness & Other Stories,1999. Joseph Conrad. Wordsworth Classic. Pg.65 7 Heart of Darkness & Other Stories,1999. Joseph Conrad. Wordsworth Classic. Pg.65 8 Heart of Darkness & Other Stories,1999. Joseph Conrad. Wordsworth Classic. Pg.68 9 Conrad. The Moral World of the Novelist, 1978. R.A. Gekoski: Paul Elek. London.pg.73 1 ...read more.

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