Books and Movies Reviews

Heart of Darkness

In Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad displays the imperfections of Imperialism.Conrad uses symbols and contrasts to portray theses imperfections.The novel is about a young man traveling up a dangerous river in the heart of the jungle.He gets a job as a captain of a steamboat to collect ivory.As a newcomer to this position and to this part of the world, he discovers the gruesome truth about Imperialism.This young mans quest quickly changes from ivory to the truth and a quest for the soul. Conrad also points out that the savages are not always the dark people, but the whites that use cruel tactics to show their superiority towards the natives.Through the course of the novel Marlow finds out about the injustices done to the natives, but does nothing about it.This partially stems from his fear of being shamed or losing his position as captain.He knows the truth, but withholds it for his own selfish needs.Marlow totally ignores his self-conscious to protect himself.Instead of being a leader he just points his finger at his comrades.
In the beginning of the novel, Marlow's understanding of the job is to save the savages.By the end, Marlow's ideas have completely changed.He is searching for the truth and self-knowledge.As Marlow gets deeper and deeper in the jungle the truth presents itself.The truth is what the Manager fears and what Kurtz uses.The whole point of the journey
is for ivory, but it later becomes a personal quest.Marlow'sfirst realization of the injustice done to the indigenous people is when he sees the chain gang.
"Black rags were wound round their loins, and the short ends
behind wagged to and fro like tails.I could see every rib, the
joints of their limbs were like knots in a rope; each had
an iron collar on his neck, and all were connected together
with a chain whose bights swung between them,

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