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

Heart of Darkness Essay. Throughout Marlow's narration of conquest and civilization, Conrad critiques the very nature of colonial conquest.

Extracts from this document...


Evelin Labastida Heart of Darkness Essay In Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad, he grapples with the idea of criticizing the attempts and attitudes of "civilizing". According to Marlow, conqueror's strength comes from the conquered's weakness in by which he defines conquest and civilization while Conrad critiques it. Throughout Marlow's narration of conquest+civilization, Conrad critiques the very nature of colonial conquest. To begin with, the lack of strength of the "savages" just makes the conquerors more elegible to take over a society. For one thing, Marlow asserts that being more powerful than others is what makes themselves "civilized". For example, on page 4 it states, "..conquest of earth, which mostly means taking it away from those who have a different complexion...something you can set up, and bow down before..." This means that in reality, the lower class is being tricked into believing they will be helped. It is the idea that you think you are helping others but it is exactly vise versa. So it shows how weak others can be. Also, Marlow also describes how the white men saw the natives' weakness and they made them slaves of their company while forcing them to do all hard labor. ...read more.


In addition, Marlow also narrates who are the "uncivilized". Particularly, not being civilized also makes you look weaker and with less power. Moreover, on page 14 the narrator penetrates, "They were dying slowly-it was very clear. They were not enemies...nothing but black shadows of disease and starvation..." This action proves that the uncivilized are weaker because of the lack wealth in society. The supposedly "civilized" tend to be the upper class who basically have every of their needs. In the same way, since the white people are considered the good, they are being worshipped for the greastest and the most civilized. For example, on page 45 it speculates that " He began with the argument that we whites, from the point of development...in the nature of supernatural beings..approach them with the might as of diety..." For this reason, one claims to be in a "civilized" society while the other cultures are in a lesser society and they are later being classified as inhuman. Likewise, Marlow mentions how Kurtz's engagement did not occur because his lack of wealth. For example, on page 70 Marlow indicates, "I had heard that her engagement with Kurtz had been disapproved by her people. ...read more.


Comparatively, Kurtz's fiancee plays a role in having power as well and being part of the colonialism. For example, on page 69 it's stated, "But when you think that no one knew him so well as I! I had all his noble confidence. I knew him best." In this case, the fiancee is used as a symbol to specify the idea of colonial conquest. Conrad used her as an example to be the one to show wealth and power to makes others weak. Also, when Flesleven gets punished for what done to the chief of the village, the village seems to be deserted and empty. For instance, on page 7 it demonstrates, "They were all there. The supernatural being had not been touched after he fell. And the village was deserted..the people had vanished..." In other words, Conrad finds it critical to portray the way the "civilized" takes action. It is a reminder to make note of who you choose to be in full power and position of your society. In conclusion, Conrad is making big arguments basing on Marlow's narration of civilization and conquest. Basically, Conrad is using judgement to say that the civilizor's civilizedness comes from the civilizees' lack of "civilization" and that conquest is using symbols to define what is more powerful and what is weaker. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our International Baccalaureate World Literature 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 International Baccalaureate World Literature essays

  1. Peer reviewed

    Portrayal of colonisers and the colonised in Joseph Conrads Heart of Darkness

    3 star(s)

    No hat. Hair parted, brushed, oiled, under a green-lined parasol held in a big white hand. He was amazing, and had a penholder behind his ear." There is a big difference in the description of the two men, the white man is being portrayed as "amazing".

  2. How does Macbeths portrayal change throughout the play?

    Lady Macbeth instead helps calm Macbeth as he expresses his anger and fear because Banquo and Fleance are still alive. "Oh, full of scorpions is my mind, dear wife!/Thou know'st that Banquo, and his Fleance, lives."(III,ii,38-39). After Act III, scene iii, and in Act III, scene iv the audience becomes

  1. Extended Essay

    Bu durum, yazarlarin karakterleri ve olaylarla kurduklari iliskiye onlarin cinsiyetlerine ve �nyargilarina bagli olarak degisiklik g�sterir. Yazarlar kullandiklari dil ve anlatim �zellikleriyle fikirlerini ya da tuttuklari tarafi a�ik�a g�sterir; kendilerini gizlemezler. Yeni d�nya d�zeninin olusumunda ekonomik ve sosyal hayatin degismesi nedeniyle kadinlarin taze is g�c� olarak piyasaya s�r�lmesi, kadinin y�kselise

  2. Women in Heart of Darkness Essay. There are only three relatively minor female characters ...

    the earth proudly, with a slight jingle and flash of barbarous ornaments. She carried her head high; her hair was done in the shape of a helmet; she had brass leggings to the knee, brass wire gauntlets to the elbow, a crimson spot on her tawny cheek,

  1. Commentary on the first 13 pages of "Heart of Darkness" by Joseph Conrad.

    This is shown for example when the journey is described as a 'glow which brings out a haze' and how is is '...detestable. And in Fascination too'. The contrast between London tand the surrounding land and sea is an example of strong chiaroscuro where the 'greatest town on earth' is

  2. Comparative Essay Heart of Darkness vs Apocalyspe Now

    In doing so he keeps himself in the civil ground, foreshadowing how he must inevitably be afflicted by the death/disease that results in such a choice. The Expedition's value of their life over their morality is shown again when they hear shrieking sounds in the fog - they were "greatly discomposed" and "trembling" (Conrad, 36)

  1. Perfume comments on 18th century pre revolutionary society in France. Suskind critiques the societal ...

    than any scientific or enlightened person or thought in the entire text. Suskind uses this as a final criticism of the Enlightenment, showing that it has created nothing but arrogant individuals that know and can produce less than Grenouille - an unscientific, uneducated young boy.

  2. Through his novel Under Western Eyes, Joseph Conrad discuses his perception of reason.

    A rational decision is defined as a decision that will leave one better off than if they hadn't made the decision. However, some people are cynically rational, in the sense that they don't care how it leaves other people, as long as it benefits them.

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