Good Research Paper On “Heart Of Darkness”
The story Heart of Darkness portrays a narrator Marlowe, who tells about his journey into the heart of equatorial Africa. The goal of this trip is to reach the European commercial station company and pick up the goods accumulated there, namely ivory. Marlow tells about his journey to Africa, where he saw a cruel Kurtz, who mined ivory in the colonies. His narrative story describes how Europeans penetrate deep into the Congo on a boat; it is a journey to the "heart of darkness", like the road to hell. Marlow sympathetically portrays the plight of blacks who die of hunger and disease. The Heart of Darkness for Marlowe, it is not only Africa, but also the depth of the corrupted human soul. According to Marlowe, the main cause of cruelty and inhumanity is greed; however, against the backdrop of nature, a man is ridiculously small and helpless. This trip does not meet Marlowe’s his childhood dream of new adventures in Africa, besides it shows a completely different picture—pilgrims driven by greed and greed and indifference can transform from civilized to savage. Moreover, he witnesses miserable cannibals who become victims of colonization.
At the beginning of the story, Marlowe describes a boring building in a European Capitol. Going into it, he instantly has a negative impression of the two women who are desperately knitting black wool behind reception. He describes one of the women who horrifies him and associates her with the ancient goddesses of fate, knitting yarns of human lives. He says, “Often far away there I thought of these two, guarding the door of Darkness, knitting black wool as for a warm pall, one introducing, introducing continuously to the unknown, the other scrutinizing the cheery and foolish faces with unconcerned old eyes. Ave! Old knitter of black wool. Morituri te salutant (They who are about to die salute you!)’’(Conrad). Based on this quote, there is a sense of fatal predetermination of what is happening in this place and to these people. Marlowe sees that place and the people there as those who do not believe that emotions can decide something, do not believe in the sincerity of emotional experiences and who emote only in certain circumstances; hence, their emotional restraint and subsequent exhaustion. Everything around has dark and gray colors, which represents depression and the emptiness of that place. This place neither inspires any hope nor motivates change; everything there is still, slow, and indifferent.
Further, in the novel, as Marlowe goes into his depth of wild nature, he discovers the cruelty of white colonists. He tells about how white, officials, agents, and employees who travel without the usual conveniences all become savages in this darkness. He is negatively surprised to discover how civilized people transform into monsters, savages and nonhumans in the depth of Africa. Unjustified cruelty toward black natives goes beyond any boundaries and Marlowe says, “It was just robbery with violence, aggravated murder on a great scale, and men going at it blind—as is very proper for those who tackle a darkness” (Conrad). Based on this quote, Marlowe is struck by indifference to human life —black natives—and his first impression on arrival is mixed when he sees six chained blacks, which pilgrims called criminals. However, these miserable people do not even know what they are guilty of because they do not know the concept of law. Those people who call these black natives criminals, in fact, are themselves such criminals because they come Africa and take whatever resources they want. Marlowe emphasizes his sympathy and compassion for these people because they are the victims of corruption and evil of the white man. He witnesses how all basic human functions become poor; people spend weeks and months in a meaningless anticipation of this trip. White pilgrims driven by greed toward black natives demonstrate their dark sides and cruelty. Marlowe shocked when he sees two black natives under the trees shadow, and these people are emaciated from hunger and hard work. Exhausting work and starvation turned these people into black shadows; they were victims of colonization and cruelty. Based on the story, colonizers use their power by forcing, killing and starving black natives. However, the most horrifying is that they do not see anything wrong by utilizing these people, because they believe that these people are in the same level as animals and they can treat them as livestock (Conrad).
According to the story, Marlowe clearly states that European people are ready to sacrifice their lives for money and capitalism. Pilgrims have only material interest and Michael Lackey in his article says, “The British have been charged with building the city of God on earth. Therefore, they can take whatever land on the planet they deem fit”(Lackey). Based on this quote, white people do not really care about nature, new culture, black people, and wildlife. British colonizers believe in their importance in this world and this fact make them selfish, which leads to cruelty and evil in their hearts. These beliefs allow British colonizers to utilize black natives as an animal for their advantage. They force them to work, extract recourses and build new stations. Marlowe says, “They were dying slowly - it was very clear. They were not enemies, they were not criminals, they were nothing earthly now, nothing but black shadows of disease and starvation, lying confusedly in the greenish gloom” (Conrad). According to that quote, souls of white people are so corrupt that they literally committed genocide against black natives. There are stories and social motives, reproof predatory exploitation of the colonies, but also the evil spilled in nature; African nature is hostile and destructive for the Europeans, but the main evil, perhaps, lies in the human soul and disguises itself in the clothes of good. In the story, Marlow realizes that his loyalty to humanity, with associated glimmers of optimism, goes against all his experience during the trip. Here among different people and undeveloped culture suggests that in the world, there is no truth, no justice, there is only stupid idealism. Most often, evil distinguishes in insidious cold selfishness, greed, and bigotry. In such a conception of the world and the human impact is characteristic of modernism pessimism (Grant).
Furthermore, during whole trip Marlowe sees that real evil lies in civilization and not in the savage land and cannibals. White pilgrims exhibit tremendous apathy toward black natives, “It was as unreal as everything else—as the philanthropic pretense of the whole concern, as their talk, as their government, as their show of work. The only real feeling was a desire to get appointed to a trading-post where ivory was to be had so that they could earn percentages” (Conrad). In this quote, he states that the main reason for this cruelty and inhumanity is that colonialists are trying to get as much ivory. He portrays an accountant, an official in the starched collar, white pants, polished shoes and an umbrella, given immediately after a terrible scene, which shows the death of blacks native. People concern about their style of dress rather than human life. Everywhere in this place in the air, hovering spirit of indifference to everything except money; indifference is the worst evil, which makes people treat people as no valuable things. Variety scenes of the death of cannibals, violence, disease, white treachery, and black savagery are the prelude to a journey to the inner station. The New York University research article says,” The natives were cannibals, but in contrast, had higher moral standards than some of the raiders, who were plundering their country and even though they were paid "royally". For their services, with useless wire with which they were expected to procure food, they did not stoop so low as to threaten the lives of the pilgrims, even when they were bordering on starvation”(NYU). Based on this quote, evil moved by greed make white people act like scavengers that cannot share their profit. They want, as more as they can grub from this land and moral values does not matter anymore.
According to the Lackey, “Humans have rights, not animals, and because Africans do not have epistemological access to the one true God, they cannot be considered human in the strict sense of the word, they are a "no people" who can expect "no mercy." From these words, it is clear that colonizers do not treat Africans as people and by using; this fact justifies mass murderer and crime toward black natives. They pretend that they came to this place in order to bring light and help black people, but in reality, they utilized everything in this land. However, the land response by killing people with diseases. Literally they robbed the land and hide behind the fact that they are performing a great mission. However, they forget about their mission and the only reason that brings them to this dangerous land is greed.
Furthermore, throughout the trip Marlowe desperately wants to see legendary Kurtz. He expected to see strong and extraordinary personality; strong and brave man. Marlow imagination seizes the figure of a successful agent of the company, Kurtz, who delivers one as much ivory as other agents combined. However, he was disappointed because Kurtz was the same as avaricious as other greedy pilgrims were. Kurtz came under the rule base instincts of his soul: he wanders in his psychosis, not because he is a villain, but because initially he is smart. None of the people was a decree for him and at all, in fact, they just praise him. Pericles Lewis in his article says, “Kurtz’s vision of imperialism in the service of civilization has made him the favorite of "the International Society for the Suppression of Savage Customs" “(Lewis). Based on the quote Kurtz stumbles, going very far on the path of self-realization. From his understanding, he is coming to this undiscovered land with a great mission to bring the light to darkness. On the picket fence around the hut, Kurtz to frighten savages hanging severed heads of their fellow citizens. In fact, "the messenger of mercy, science and progress" as he declared himself is the embodiment of evil. By force of arms, he robs Africans fossil ivory, declares himself a god for them. According to Marlowe, Kurtz in the pursuit of profit does not shrink from nothing.
The strength of the unusual talent Kurtz on the right elevates it above the other, but it also makes him lonely. He has appeared in areas where few people come, because, as a rule, no one is as jade power and money as he did. If he came back, he would be the hero of the level of myth. Nevertheless, he will not come back from here; his personality crushed ocean and jungle swallow it. Marlow realizes that all his hearsay-compiled representation of Kurtz proved to be false. In her article Lucifadie Walkure says,” Kurtz’s idealism and desire to bring the light of white civilization to Africa are inseparable from his pride and will to power. He is an egoist who keeps talking to Marlow of his own properties” (Walkure). The more time Kurtz spend in this darkness, the darker become his own heart. Marlowe feels sorry about his expectations for him and he says, “Kurtz—Kurtz—that means short in German—don't it? Well, the name was as true as everything else in his life—and death” (Conrad). Say that Marlowe emphasizes that Kurtz has lived a senseless and short life and he itself represents an evil. For their own benefit, the make suffers many people but, ironically, this dark land swallowed him.
The ultimate goal in Heart of Darkness is not only the lost station where a white man imagines himself a God and does monstrous and disgusting things; the core is encased in society shackles. White people on the black continent are the inevitable conflict; only a matter of time whom the darkness will absorb. What is a heart of darkness according to Marlow? Definitely, it is a heart full of darkness, where there is no glimmer of light, goodness and hope – this is the heart of man—a man is the creator of evil in the world (Thompson). In addition, the farther inland they go, the more they feel the heart of darkness; the darkness of human hearts as if they descended into the Earth's core, which scorches them for their warmth. Here through the thickets and obstacles pilgrims crept closer and closer to death. European, come in order to convert the savages, like them, but the white man always thinks about the benefits and even betrayal. In the course of the story, Marlowe describes a scene where hungry cannibals could easily kill them all on the boat because they were hungry and people thought out their meat (Conrad). They had power to kill them and have a feast, however, humanity in their hearts prevent them to do it. These people are not corrupted in comparison with white men, who are ready to destroy everything in order to have money.
The whole picture seems to be the European continent, as if disclaims cruel and rude people, sending them to the primeval jungle. In chapter two, Marlowe spends more time with black cannibals rather than with white pilgrims. He says, “Fine fellows—cannibals—in their place. They were men one could work with, and I am grateful to them” (Conrad) In Marlowe’s words feel some sarcastic notes because he says that he grateful to cannibals. I think he wants to emphasize that he can find common ground with savage cannibals rather than with white people. They worked hard and they could be learned, where pilgrims do, nothing but talk more. Marlowe spends more time by working with cannibals, than with pilgrims. He takes care of his broken boat and these black people worked with him very hard. Probably without their help, he would never repair his boat because pilgrims did not even send him clenches for the boat. Others just do not care about the boat, people and concern only about rumors and intrigues. That is why he looks at this black person with sympathy and grateful them because despite being cannibal they have more humanity than white people do.
Marlowe does not give the unequivocal answer to the question of what is evil and where its origins. There are stories and social motives, reproof predatory exploitation of the colonies and evil as it disguises itself in the clothes of good. Marlowe’s glimmers of optimism in a novel, go against all his experience, suggests that in the world there is no truth, no justice, there is only stupid idealism. Moreover, often this insidious cold selfishness, greed, bigotry. In such a conception of the world and the human impact is characteristic of modernism pessimism (Lipka).
Lackey, Michael. "The Moral Conditions for Genocide in Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness1." College Literature 32.1 (2005): 20-F. ProQuest. Web. 11 Apr. 2015.
"Joseph Conrad." Heart of Darkness. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Apr. 2015. <http://www.nyu.edu/classes/keefer/nature/conrad.htm>.
Walkure, Lucifadie. "Marlow's Resistance to Darkness & Kurtz Surrender to It." Marlow's Resistance to Darkness & Kurtz Surrender to It. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Apr. 2015. <http://www.academia.edu/1363249/Marlows_resistance_to_Darkness_and_Kurtz_Surrender_to_it>.
Lewis, Pericles. ""His Sympathies Were in the Right Place": Heart of Darkness and the Discourse of National Character." Nineteenth-Century Literature 53.2 (1998): 211-44. Web.
Thompson, Terry W. "Conrad's Heart of Darkness." The Explicator 60.1 (2001): 27-30. ProQuest. Web. 11 Apr. 2015.
Lipka, Jennifer. ""the Horror! the Horror!": Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness as a Gothic Novel." Conradiana 40.1 (2008): 25,37,105. ProQuest. Web. 11 Apr. 2015.
Grant, J. K. "Conrad's Heart of Darkness." The Explicator 61.4 (2003): 213-5. ProQuest. Web. 11 Apr. 2015.