Friday, January 18, 2008

Heart of Darkness

One huge blatant theme within the novel was the theme of darkness. It was clearly an evil novel. It starts on the surface with the story taking place in Africa in the Congo which is better known as the heart of darkness. But when reading the story between the lines, one sees that the darkness is within everyone. A great example of this inner conflict is the scene involving the head on the stakes. Kurtz specifically places all of the head facing out except for one that faces in towards the hut in which he lives in. This demonstrates Kurtz coming face to face with darkness. All of this darkness is what ultimately leads to Kurtz's death. The darkness consumes the men within the jungle and the only way of escaping it is by walking away from it.

“The brown current ran swiftly out of the heart of darkness, bearing us down towards the sea with twice the speed of our upward progress; and Kurtz’s life was running swiftly, too, ebbing, ebbing out of his heart into the sea of inexorable time. . . . I saw the time approaching when I would be left alone of the party of ‘unsound method"

This quote is from when the steamer is on its way back from the inner station in part III. On board is Kurtz and his ivory on their way down the river or the 'heart of darkness.' The 'brown current' is reffering to the black community. However in this scene the river is ultimatly bringing Marlow back to white civilization. The whole first sentence of this quote seems to be suggesting that Kurtz and Marlow have been able to leave behind the 'heart of darkness', but it appears that it is too late for Kurtz who has already been consumed by the darkness. Marlow is also left scarred by the darkness that surrounded him on his journey. In the end, this quote is symbolic of the darkness that lies within everyone.

Out of all the novels that we have read so far this year, Heart of Darkness was definitely my least favorite. First off the book, while being short, took forever to read. This might be due to the fact that I found its wording to be very dense along with it being immensely boring. Second off, I do not like dark novels such as this. I feel that Conrad could have made the same point without all of the darkness used. Simply, this novel was terrible. I did not find it the least bit interesting to read nor did I feel the writing was good.


lifeisgood said...

I have to disagree with you in your statement of "Conrad could have made the same point without all of the darkness used." I feel that the dark imagery and tone was essential for the purpose of the novel. There is no way that his message could have been portrayed accurately with sunny skies, people frolicking in the grass, eating bountiful meals. I also feel that Conrad wrote his novel terribly well. It was, indeed, very dense, but that is the point. It is not meant to be a light read. It is a complex and psychological journey.

Mr. Klimas said...

I have to agree with lifeisgood. I'm not sure how someone would go about writing a novel exploring the darkness/evil within the human soul and make it anything but dark.