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

Remind yourself of the opening passage of Heart of Darkness, as far as "…under the stars" and discuss its effectiveness as an opening to the novel.

Extracts from this document...


Remind yourself of the opening passage of Heart of Darkness, as far as "...under the stars" and discuss its effectiveness as an opening to the novel. At the time when Joseph Conrad wrote Heart of Darkness, the British Empire was at its highest, and Britain controlled colonies from all over the world. The main topic of Heart of Darkness is imperialism, and the policy of Britain using their influence over other areas through military, political, and economic force. The narrator (who remains unnamed) expresses the mainstream belief that imperialism is a glorious and worthy enterprise. In fact, in Conrad's time, the "empire" was one of the main values of British subjects, the basic term through which Britain defined its identity. The first passage of Heart of Darkness is written in the narrative, and the book opens with a thorough description of their beginnings in the journey - the Thames (this in itself is very important through the book), and the surrounding area, Gravesend. The narrator who starts off Heart of Darkness is unnamed, just like the other three listeners on the boat, with the reader just getting their profession (Director of Companies, Lawyer, and Accountant). ...read more.


The description he has given of the Thames is in fact similar in ways to the way he later describes the river in South Africa. By doing this, he has shown his feelings from early on. By linking the Thames & the Congo, it is has shown how they have certain similarities. Conrad has given us the foundation of the path that we go on to follow throughout the book. It is fascinating how his descriptions of the other boatmen give the impressions they do, and how this, in particular, goes on to influence our views in the rest of the book. Of course, Marlow is the only one we really need be concerned with, as it is he who goes on to co-narrate the rest of the book. The Director of Companies doubles as the captain and the host. This shows how they generally look upon him with affection, trust and respect. The Lawyer is older than the rest and possesses many virtues. The Accountant is toying with dominoes, trying to start a game. ...read more.


Conrad mentions "Sir Francis Drake to Sir John Franklin," two of the famous explorers that travelled down the same river. During this same passage he then talks about feelings of the British people - "the germs of empires," who manipulated other human beings and resources. This goes a long way to revealing Conrad's view on the slavery and demolition. Despite all the mention of it in Heart of Darkness, it is noticeable how Conrad assumes people's knowledge of colonialism. The resentment of Marlow's recollection makes obvious Conrad's own strong bias against colonialism, which he does wants to pass on to the reader. Overall, the introduction serves as a good beginning to the book. In the passage, Conrad manages to introduce most of his main themes. There is darkness, which is very large topic, and how it can serve/be viewed in different contexts. We are made aware of Marlow himself and his unreliability/madness (caused due to the voyage...). Also, there is already a brief introduction into his views on colonialism/imperialism too. Due to this, you get an impression of his views early on, and as a result almost 'get ready' to view the rest of the book in the way he may of intended you to. ...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 ...

    too much ", However in the middle of his description he suddenly refers to "Those who have a different complexion or slightly flatter noses than ourselves". In this statement, we can see that Marlow starts to relate to what happens in the book, about him going to Africa.

  2. Representation of Women In Heart of Darkness.

    A year after Kurtz's death she still mourned him and tells Marlow: "I have survived." This tells readers she finds it hard to like without Kurtz- she is finding it hard to find the power to struggle on.

  1. The novel "Heart of Darkness" by Joseph Conrad centers on both a political and ...

    Literally, there could be deaths involved but subtexually, this could be interpreted as death of civilization within his soul. Without this, they would have to be "men enough to face the darkness" and "if he had good friends and survived the awful climate" suggests the idea of survival of the fittest which could be related to the theme of colonization.

  2. What is your impression of the description of settings and characters in the heart ...

    Kurtz, who is the man whom Marlow is asking about throughout the story, is the bad character (antagonist). Kurtz committed many atrocities against the black people including creating a little dictatorship of which he was the leader and the indigenous people were the subjects.

  1. Explore the themes of justace and things not being as they seem in The ...

    We also get an impression that she is not just a normal, nice old woman because "her eyes snapped and darted" you would think this sounds like a predator that was looking for its prey. Then they find out about Mrs Rutter killing the German pilot and this has now

  2. Explore how the authors present the 'darkness' of the human heart and the savagery ...

    The fact that at the end of Lord of the Flies "Ralph wept for the end of innocence and the darkness of man's heart" applies emphasis on this theme and reflects Ralph's complete realization of mans evil after the experiences he suffered on the island.

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

    Meanwhile, this winding river can also symbolise the winding journey Marlow and the reader takes into his or her own mind and psyche. As he continues the journey, he realises that the Heart of Darkness is the furthest point anyone can reach in disregarding their faith in the goodness in

  2. DIscuss The Title Of Conrad's 'Heart Of Darkness'

    Conrad carries on with his description of 'Great Britain', but one of the phrases he uses is interesting. He describes how the fleets come 'bearing the sword, and often the torch' and a few word later, 'bearers of spark from the sacred fire'.

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