Colonialism Themes and Colors LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in Heart of Darkness, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work.
Themes are the fundamental and often universal ideas explored in a literary work. The Hypocrisy of Imperialism Heart of Darkness explores the issues surrounding imperialism in complicated ways. As Marlow travels from the Outer Station to the Central Station and finally up the river to the Inner Station, he encounters scenes of torture, cruelty, and near-slavery.
At the very least, the incidental scenery of the book offers a harsh picture of colonial enterprise. His perverse honesty leads to his downfall, as his success threatens to expose the evil practices behind European activity in Africa.
However, for Marlow as much as for Kurtz or for the Company, Africans in this book are mostly objects: Africans become for Marlow a mere backdrop, a human screen against which he can play out his philosophical and existential struggles. Their existence and their exoticism enable his self-contemplation.
This kind of dehumanization is harder to identify than colonial violence or open racism. While Heart of Darkness offers a powerful condemnation of the hypocritical operations of imperialism, it also presents a set of issues surrounding race that is ultimately troubling.
Madness as a Result of Imperialism Madness is closely linked to imperialism in this book.
Africa is responsible for mental disintegration as well as physical illness. Madness has two primary functions. Kurtz, Marlow is told from the beginning, is mad. However, as Marlow, and the reader, begin to form a more complete picture of Kurtz, it becomes apparent that his madness is only relative, that in the context of the Company insanity is difficult to define.
Thus, both Marlow and the reader begin to sympathize with Kurtz and view the Company with suspicion. Madness also functions to establish the necessity of social fictions. Although social mores and explanatory justifications are shown throughout Heart of Darkness to be utterly false and even leading to evil, they are nevertheless necessary for both group harmony and individual security.
Kurtz has no authority to whom he answers but himself, and this is more than any one man can bear.
The Absurdity of Evil This novella is, above all, an exploration of hypocrisy, ambiguity, and moral confusion. It explodes the idea of the proverbial choice between the lesser of two evils. As the idealistic Marlow is forced to align himself with either the hypocritical and malicious colonial bureaucracy or the openly malevolent, rule-defying Kurtz, it becomes increasingly clear that to try to judge either alternative is an act of folly: Is there such thing as insanity in a world that has already gone insane?
The number of ridiculous situations Marlow witnesses act as reflections of the larger issue: At the Outer Station, he watches native laborers blast away at a hillside with no particular goal in mind. The absurd involves both insignificant silliness and life-or-death issues, often simultaneously.
That the serious and the mundane are treated similarly suggests a profound moral confusion and a tremendous hypocrisy:Heart of Darkness () is a novella by Polish-English novelist Joseph Conrad about a voyage up the Congo River into the Congo Free State in the heart of Africa.
Charles Marlow, the narrator, tells his story to friends aboard a . Heart Of Darkness When patterns are broken, new worlds emerge. (Tuli Kupferberg) In the novel Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad our protagonist Marlow is directly influenced by the antagonist throughout the story.
A man named Kurtz; selfish, greedy, and powerful are just a few words to describe him amongst most respect and fear came frequently. In Joseph Conrad's novella, Heart of Darkness, Marlow - who is both the protagonist, whose actions make up the main plot of the novel, and the narrator, whose thoughts and attitudes shape the reader's perception of the story - has a revelation about human nature.
In Heart of Darkness, natural forces have a will of their own: they're hostile to the white "pilgrims," but accepting toward the black "savages." Conrad suggests that there's no real difference between the natural world and human nature.
Conrad blends many of his recurrent themes in Heart of Darkness.
Chief among them are the education of a young man in search of the meaning of self and society in an ambiguous universe, the. Struggling with the themes of Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness?
We've got the quick and easy lowdown on them here. Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad. Home / Literature / Heart of Darkness / (Click the themes infographic to download.) Move over, Mother Nature: there's a new wilderness in town.