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

Heart of Darkness. Discuss the variety of ways in which the title of the novella might be considered an appropriate one.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Discuss the variety of ways in which the title of the novella might be considered an appropriate one. The 'Heart of Darkness', a novella by Joseph Conrad was written in 1899 and is set in what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo, the third largest country in Africa. The Congo River flows in an arc across the country and is surrounded by dense forest, making some parts virtually inaccessible. At the time of Conrad's writing, the country was colonised by King Leopold II of Belgium. He took profits from exporting goods such as ivory (as shown by Conrad in the novella) and rubber and built railways across the country to transport these goods and people. Just before Conrad wrote 'Heart of Darkness', Darwin's theory of evolution had raised widespread anxiety about human nature and its origins and in the novella Conrad explores how far we have really come from animals. Ultimately Conrad is condemning colonialism and the effects to which it leads. The story is told by a frame narrator who tells us of Marlow recounting his experiences in Africa. Before Marlow describes Africa and what has happened to him he gives the reader his view on London, the Thames and more generally, England. ...read more.

Middle

At all the stations which Marlow visits, the managers think they are there for a purpose, but maybe are not actually sure what this is. At first, when Marlow sees the canoes 'paddled by black fellows', he respects the native Africans and sees them as natural and part of what should be there in its place. As recognised by Chinua Achebe in his essay 'An Image of Africa: Racism in Conrad's "Heart of Darkness"', 'Conrad is a romantic....for Conrad, things being in their place is of utmost importance', and Conrad shows the blacks are in their place through Marlow's view: 'They shouted, sang; their bodies streamed with perspiration; they had faces like grotesque masks -- these chaps; but they had bone, muscle, a wild vitality, an intense energy of movement, that was as natural and true as the surf along their coast. They wanted no excuse for being there. They were a great comfort to look at.' Conrad's voice comes through when Marlow says that the native 'men could by no stretch of the imagination be called enemies'. He says this after he has described one black native in charge of others. ...read more.

Conclusion

Conrad has manipulated all his key points into one main idea and title. In my opinion, his main idea wanting to make the reader realize that we have not travelled that far from 'savages' and although we think we are now civilized and we can look down upon what we see as inferior races, we are only a short step away from our savage past. This is linked to Darwin's theory of evolution, published just less than half a century before the book was written. Conrad also uses the 'Heart of Darkness' to show his criticisms of colonialism and the greed of men. He does this using the examples of England being colonized by the Romans and then the European conquest of Africa, showing that previous events have not been learnt from and that the greed of mens' hearts is too strong for them to resist. Conrad uses Marlow as an example of the way in which we all discover that we ourselves have a heart of darkness. His imagery of light and dark gives the perspective of where these 'hearts of darkness' come from and what they can do to places - gloom over London where colonialists set out, darkness of Congo where terrible acts are being carried out and gets darker as Marlow gets closer to Kurtz's station. ?? ?? ?? ?? David Jubb ...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. DIscuss The Title Of Conrad's 'Heart Of Darkness'

    The narrator describes his surroundings and the atmosphere as the sun sets. The first paragraph of the story conveys a calm, languid feeling, using a blend of euphonic words in order to achieve this effect. Conrad also cleverly uses words that make you think of calm surroundings, such as 'flutter' and 'cruising', etc.

  2. Kurtz And Marlow As "Doubles" in Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad.

    The two characters are alike even if the fact that the same people have recommended them for that expedition. They have a common motive for taking such a step - they both want rivets: " (...) but what I wanted was a certain quantity of rivets - and rivets were what really Mr Kurtz wanted"(Conrad p.41).

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

    He makes use immediately of cynical irony in "a mournful gloom brooding motionless over the biggest, and the greatest, town on earth." The "greatest, town on earth" again highlights Britain's view as this being the centre of the civilised world, but this contrasts with "mournful" and "brooding", which suggests that

  2. Bring out the significance of the title 'The secret sharer' - What do Legatt ...

    The captain states that he perceives himself to be a stranger amongst the others. Among his insecurities, the captain also sees himself as a stranger to himself and not fit to run his own ship. "But what I felt most was my being a stranger to the ship: and if

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

    The cannibals are shown as the typical Africans in contrast to the pilgrims, the typical Europeans. The cannibals are actually hard working, well behaved people and according to Marlow "...fine fellows...they were men one could work with, and I was grateful for them..."

  2. Heart of Darkness

    as whole people as their body parts or features, "A bunch of Black feathers, Mangy skin". This and other of Marlow's actions and dialogue could cause this character to be seen as racist by the standards of today. In this extract Kurtz is finally introduced to the reader, after hearing

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

    he found out which could give you the impression that it was the first time Marlow had ever told the story aloud. The first narrator's view of the Thames suggests the nobility of Britain's role in the colonisation of the world; the frame narrator shows explicit and implicit views on it.

  2. A Critical Commentary on the first 20 pages on The Heart of Darkness

    Marlow also thinks of the natives as being savage like animals.Africa is described as a hostile, savage and uninhabitable place. Later on he compares them to dogs by saying they have "iron collars" and that they walked as though they had "tails".

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