Literary Analysis Essay
1F. The land is an equal participant of the events of the “Heart of Darkness.” It has its own destiny, and it should be regarded as an unavoidable element of the character list of the story. The beauty of the jungle isn’t a mere contrast to the cruelty of the European colonists in Congo. The land is continuously referred to as a living being. Charlie Marlow was very much surprised by the “river, the forest, all the great land throbbing with life.” (Conrad, 1998, p.9), and this scenery had awaken many thoughts in his mind about the sense, meaning and the purpose of life and its transient nature.
Land seems to have emotion of its own, for instance, the sound was described “as if the whole land had been one immense drum booming out steadily an appeal to heaven.” (Conrad, 1998, p.16)
The land is full of serenity, wisdom and splendor, and the reader can virtually feel “the subtle and penetrating perfume as of land breezes breathing through the starlight of bygone nights.” (Conrad, 1998, p.37)
1H. Dreams in the “Heart of Darkness” are both a part of imagery and way of structuring the story. For a number of times Marlow felt like loosing the contact with reality and he wasn’t sure about what was really happening, for instance, during his voyage upriver.
Another symbolic value of dreams is revealed at the point when Marlow was awakened by drums and felt himself at a loss and in the middle of nowhere. Many things in Africa appeared to the Europeans like in a feverish dream.
2B. In this essay I’m going to discuss why the “Heart of Darkness” can be viewed as a story of the education of Charlie Marlow, and the specific role Kurtz played in it. Indeed, the “Heart of Darkness” is the comprehensive account of Marlow’s personal growth. Life, nature, strange people and extreme conditions – all this was serving the noble purpose of Charlie’s education.
From the nineteenth century colonist, Africa demanded much courage and strength. The Congo nature and way of living were all new to Marlow, so he had to cope with many threats and hardships without descending into the darkness of madness, like many Europeans were doomed to.
The experience of Marlow makes him reassess his own values and the social values of those times. He was used to civilization, but he had to meet with savagery face to face. It would be logical to think that in the “heart of darkness” civilized people should fall into degradation and dehumanization; however, observing the natural state of people helps Marlow to understand his own self and the nature of the social organization.
During the course of the story, Marlow becomes more and more skeptical of imperialism. He opened his eyes on the dangers and suffering it caused. I believe that Marlow became more humane and enlightened.
The Congo journey of Marlow can be compared not only with the university of life but also with the grand awakening. The Old World was sleepy, lazy, and meaningless. The unknown lands were offering dynamic developments, adventures, and freedom from the old social prejudices.
Kurtz have produced a powerful impact over Marlow. At first, he appeared as an elusive figure, and only then as a real man of flesh and blood. Kurtz is continuously referred to as “gifted Mr.Kurtz.” At first, Marlow “was then rather excited at the prospect of meeting Kurtz very soon.” (Conrad, 1998, p.182)
When he met him, he wasn’t disappointed but even more intrigued by the enigmatic personality of Kurtz. Kurtz was strong, eloquent and knowledgeable. He won the respect of Charlie by hi independent and analytical nature. He always had an opinion of his own and was never afraid to express it freely:
“This is the reason why I affirm that Kurtz was a remarkable man. He had something to say.” (Conrad, 1998, p.241)
In difficult situations, Marlow “turned mentally to Kurtz for relief-positively for relief.” (Conrad, 1998, p.228)
Kurtz didn’t admit the rules of the game the European colonists had to play. He recognized that the Europeans, him including, ruled the continents with the help of aggression and oppression. He familiarized too much with the natives, and that was the reason of his downfall.
Concluding my argument, I can say that the “Heart of Darkness” tells the story of the gradual education of Marlow in the faraway Congo. The influence of Kurtz was the major influence out of all the factors that influenced Charlie’s personality during the course of the story.
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