Heart of darkness 9

Essay by EssaySwap ContributorHigh School, 12th grade February 2008

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Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness relates to the reader through several narrational voices, the story of the Englishman Marlow traveling physically up an unnamed river in the wilderness of the Belgium Congo, and psychologically as a journey into one's self. The frame narrator is an Englishman upon the 'Nellie', a yawl on the river Thames, who relates the story as told to him by the separate narrator Marlow. Through the frame narrator, Conrad expresses to the reader the theme of the shifting nature of reality.

Marlow's negative views on colonialism and racism (although contradictory) were the new ideologies taken into consideration during the time the novella was set. These views were expected to be adopted by the contemporary reader as evidenced by the frame narrator changing his view of London as "the biggest and the greatest town on earth" to being a "monstrous town… marked ominously on the sky… a broading gloom of sunshine…" It is important to realize, however, that both the frame narrator and Marlow absent information as affected by their own background and white, European upbringing and also personal experiences.

Hence negative views on women and (unconsciously) African natives and strong views on colonialism and to a lesser extent racism arise.

Marlow quickly expresses his view on colonialism that "The conquest of the world which mostly means the taking it away from those who have a different complexion or slightly flatter noses than ourselves, is not a pretty thing when you look into it too much." When Marlow arrives at the station he is shocked and disgusted by the sight of wasted human life and ruined supplies . The manager's senseless cruelty and foolishness overwhelm him with anger and disgust. Also through dramatic scenes such as the 'Grove of Death' Marlow convinces the frame narrator and...