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The novel "Heart of Darkness" by Joseph Conrad centers on both a political and a personal theme. The major themes explored in the extract taken from "Heart of Darkness" are the controversy of imperialism, colonisation

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Arisara 12J What themes are explored in this extract and what literacy devices are used? The novel "Heart of Darkness" by Joseph Conrad centers on both a political and a personal theme. The major themes explored in the extract taken from "Heart of Darkness" are the controversy of imperialism, colonisation, civilization and savagery, uncertainty, darkness, the self and the unconscious. The themes explored in the extract are often linked. The title "Heart of Darkness" itself presents controversy and irony within the subtext. To begin with, "Heart" is associated with love, suggesting perhaps, the love for darkness or "Heart" as in the centre of the darkness or evil. This could be interpreted as the darkness within Africa or perhaps, the darkness and evil of human's heart. "All that mysterious life of the wilderness that stirs in the forest, in the jungles, in the hearts of wild men" is foreshadowing the inevitability of savagery that men will face once they arrive in Africa. One of the main themes that Conrad explored was journey. ...read more.


The images are directly related to traveling/journey, this foreshadows that the journey will be full of darkness, uncertainty, vulnerability and ultimately, evil. Moreover, darkness often means "danger"; the evidence of this is when Marlow mentioned, "sandbanks.... Savagery", natural images that are avoided by sailors. This further conveys danger within the journey. As people often associate darkness and the "unknowns" with uncertainty. The theme is further emphasized by the use of dashes as Marlow speaks with the men, "we live in the flicker - may it last as long as the old earth keeps rolling!" Politically, the theme of colonisation plays a vital role in the novel. Marlow often refers to history of Britain "Romans first came here" "the other day" This suggests the speed of human progression that deep inside our soul, we want to dominate others that are weaker than us. The tone is doomed and conveys sense of regrets. His views on the Romans are displayed quite negatively, "nothing more I suspect". To readers, it may seem like Marlow doesn't know everything as the Romans brought great civilization to Britain. ...read more.


As he mentioned that human beings has the "fascination of abomination". By listing extreme emotion, such as, "the growing of regrets, the longing to escape, the powerless disgust, the surrender, the hate" the readers are encouraged to further explore the issue of inner savagery in the heart of human sole. "The surrender" could also be interpreted as when soldiers colonized a country; they have to give in into their inner savages and are powerless to stop it. Dramatic effect is caused when Marlow "paused". This conveys that he doesn't want to be like the Romans who surrender. The fact that "He paused" is on its own suggests that he is exploring this emotion by himself. Another interpretation could be that the author is trying to create tension as this is a disruption in the flow of the text. Structurally, this also creates a shift in tone as after "he paused" there seemed to be an explanation and justification of his mission. Arguably, his gesture of the Buddha made him seems self absorbed. However, the image of "Buddha" is connected with spiritual authority; this makes us wonder whether Marlow may be asking for forgiveness for his savagery in advance for his actions in Africa later on. . ...read more.

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