Books and Movies Reviews

Joseph Conrads Heart of Darkness

In Joseph Conrad’s novel, “Heart of Darkness,” we can easily see how the
environment can have a negative impact on an individual’s mental health.
By examining the character of Kurtz, we can see how easily this occurs.
We are told by Marlow that Kurtz is “gifted” (Conrad 1902 p. 294) and
when Kurtz arrived in the jungle, his “sympathies were in the right place”
(p. 295).However, after years of living in an elevated state above the
natives, he began to lose his respect for life as well as his sanity.The
natives worshipped him and he had the “power to charm and frighten
rudimentary souls into an aggravated witch-dance in his honor” (p. 296).
This illustrates how he began to actually believe he was as great as the
natives thought he was.This inflated self opinion was the beginning of
In addition, Kurtz was only interested in obtaining more ivory.We read
that after years of living alone, he “wandered alone far in the depths of
the forest” (p. 301).In addition, he would “disappear for weeks; forget
himself amongst the people” (p. 302) to hunt for more ivory.This
illustrates how he became more isolated from people, which also attributed
Eventually, Kurtz lost his ability to reason because he was obsessed
with ivory and because he was alone more and more.In fact, Kurtz
threatened to shoot his dearest friend if he did not give Kurtz his ivory.
We are told that Kurtz “declared he would shoot me unless I gave him the
ivory and then cleared out of the country, because he could do so . . . and
there was nothing on earth to prevent him from killing whom he jolly well
pleased” (p. 301).Additionally, Kurtz kept a collection of shrunken heads
on stakes near his house. (p. 303)We are told that these heads “only
showed that Mr. Kurtz lacked restraint in the gratification of his various
lusts” (p. 303).This demonstrates Kurtz’s complete lack of respect for

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