Effects of Color Symbolism in Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness Term Paper

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Heart of Darkness advances and withdraws as in a succession of long dark waves borne by an incoming tide. The waves encroach fairly evenly on the shore, and presently a few more feet of sand have been won. But an occasional wave thrusts up unexpectedly, much further than the others; even as far, say, as Kurtz and his Inner Station"- Albert J. Guerard."

In Conrad's Heart of Darkness Marlow, the chief character, represent the absoluteness of Imperialism. Marlow as a character recognizes the evil that contrary Imperialism has caused and concludes it is truly needless. When Marlow states, "I had got a heavenly mission to civilize you," he deliberates his moral intent to aid the Africans advance and headway. In addition, when he says, "I was an impostor," Marlow identifies the actuality that he is an intruder into a foreign land, yet he sticks to his virtuous values.

Marlow notice numerous kinds of violation of authority by other whites, plainly in view of they have superior weapons of war. When the manager seriously hit a young black boy for the burnt woodshed Marlow deprecate. Nonetheless, when he sees mistreatment and unfair handling he does not physically try to stop it. On the contrary, he just turns away and accepts that it is happening. That is one of Marlow's blemish, he does not support his beliefs and convictions.

Joseph Conrad's 1902 novel Heart of Darkness is about many things: seafaring, riverboating, trade and exploration, imperialism and colonialism, race relations, the attempt to find meaning in the universe while trying to get at the mysteries of the subconscious mind. We read this novel from perspectives unavailable to its first audience: we question assumptions about race and self-government, which that audience didn't -- we live in a different world with different maps, and different cultural and political orders."

The darkness is in the title and also the major point of this book. Darkness symbolizes wilderness, immoral and avarice. Conrad tells us about the character of the human's heart and how can that be turned from good to bad. Since this novel leans in the direction of the dark more than light, the dark will be our center of concentration. Conrad leaves the meaning of this darkness vague on purpose.

One might ponder that darkness in this novel refers to the Congo, the African people who live there, how so they lived in illiteracy, act ferociously and roughly. This all might be real and to a certain degree might be authentic. So far darkness is used as an emblem of ignorance and primitiveness. Darkness could be bright to us if we glance at it from a distinct angle. Darkness could be a sign of the white man's heart, which demand to be a representative of European light that comes to the Congo to save the Congo, although in actuality it is the white man who slaughters the Congo. It is the white man that binds the habitants of the Congo while blaming them as primitive and uncultured.

At the time of the colonization of Africa, forced ethics of a race that thought of themselves as more preferred than those who occupied that land before them dwell. This is established as Conrad writes about how the Whites entirely rule the Blacks in Africa. A important excerpt from the novel illustrating this point is when Marlow explicate, "Black shapes crouched, lay, The work was going on this was the place where some of the helpers had withdrawn to die they were nothing earthly now, nothing but black shadows of disease and starvation, lying confusedly in the greenish gloom."

To open to civilization the only part of our globe where it has yet to penetrate, to pierce the darkness which envelops whole populations, it is, I dare to say, a crusade worthy of this century of progress."

-- King Leopold of the Belgians."

Marlow finds himself in a position where he is faced to embrace the reality that the man he has admired and glance up to is a lunatic. He understands that Kurtz's procedures are not only unfair, but also inhumane. Marlow comes to understand that Kurtz is evil, and that he himself is also evil, therefore Marlow's disillusion makes his categorizing with Kurtz abominable. As Marlow travels up the river, he is uniformly absorbed with Kurtz. Marlow says "I seemed to see Kurtz for the first time the lone white man turning his back suddenly on the headquarters, on relief, on thoughts of home towards his empty and desolate station."

The death of white characters, on the other hand, indicates a spiritual and moral death through their selfishness and the overall greed of the ivory company. However, one instance arises where there is a change in the color symbolism: when Marlow comes upon the "grove of death" toward the beginning of his story, he sees a black boy with a white string tied around his neck. In this example, whiteness is used to show the character's innocence. Still, death, whether black or white, is always somehow the result of the ivory company's dealings."

To the outer world white is good and black is evil, it is as clear as that. This systematic view is personified in Marlow's aunt, who give credence to the fact that his job is to bring light into the land of darkness and to educate the primitive.

Sans the presence of society, the interior essence of humans is laid open and what is white on the outside is sometimes black on the inside. This turnaround of appearances is exhibited in all the imperialists that Marlow comes across.

This contortion of appearances is laid open again in the uncle of the manager of the second station. His skin color hides the presence of evil.

The conflict amid light and dark, black and white, good and evil is not the same in the Congo as it is in Europe. Sans society these forces get distorted and hard to characterize between.

The narrator warns us that Marlow's story will not be the average sea yarn. While most seamen tell simple stories, "the whole meaning of which lies within the shell of a cracked nut," Marlow was not typical: "to him the meaning of an episode was not inside like a kernel but outside, enveloping the tale." (pg. 3) 9"

Searching for succession in Heart of Darkness can be a formidable task. One wonders in any case Conrad is a social judge, investigating western civilization, or barely an intense pessimist, blaming mankind to a defenseless dichotomy of disguise and savageness. Upon close scrutiny, one frequent notion seems to stitch a shared thread through the darkness of Kurtz and Africa and the illiteracy of the Proposed and the European disguise. This main feature lies in Marlow's work ethic. In spite of the fact that Marlow often seems to deny his own breakdown of his story, these disagreement arrive at a consistent value giving emphasis to honesty, openness, and aptitude.

Here darkness is analogous with the unfathomable, the illogical, the primitive, and the confused, light is an emblem of reason, order, and advance. Such alliance fabricate the historical theory of the white man's burden to bring order and reason to dark places and consequently the explanation for the dominance of white cultures over the civilizations of people of color.

The phrases "hate them to the death" also shows the dehumanization of the native Africans. When looked at for its literal meaning, this clause suggests that until the natives die, there can be no emotion for them but hate. It is an easy ideal to follow, and makes the complete oppression more easily forgiven for the imperialists."

The application of symbolism in this book is sufficient to knock the reader away. Conrad uses symbolism, customarily with color comparison…[continue]


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