"The heart of Darkness" by Joseph Conrad This essay is about how marlow portrays the natives of the Congo as "Dark Shadows"

Essay by SPIDEI2_MAN__High School, 12th gradeA+, January 2004

download word file, 3 pages 3.0 1 reviews

Downloaded 71 times

Dark Shadows

Interestingly enough, Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness is one of the most debated English books to this day. Conrad deals with important issues and topics through Marlow and his journey through the jungle. One of the most important representations in the novella is of an oppressed race of people. The natives of the Congo have no choice but to become servants of the Europeans. Dehumanization of the Congo natives occurs throughout the novella and is a major issue among debaters today.

All of the characters in the novella are guilty of viewing the natives as animals and taking away their self-worth. Upon first entering the jungle and going to the Outer Station, Marlow exhibits his European behavior and ignores the natives. He thinks about the accountant's organization techniques rather than the dying black man next to him. Marlow's views of the natives are skewed, as are the values of all the Europeans.

Marlow refers to the natives as "black shapes" (26). Even as the blacks try to speak, Marlow rarely allows them to say anything. Although he is only acting out of what he knows, he still treats the natives as if they are nothing. Marlow says they are "nothing but black shadows of disease and starvation lying confusedly in the greenish gloom" (26). Again Marlow can only view the natives as objects of evil. For Marlow evil manifests itself in the jungle. The dark and gloomy landscape of the jungle mirrors Marlow's view of the inhabitants. From the first day in the jungle, Marlow says he sees the river as "an immense snake uncoiled" (11). Even from the beginning Marlow views the land as an evil place. However, although Marlow shows some signs of a negative view of the natives, he has not lost sensitivity for them.