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Heart of Darkness Themes, Characters and Symbols

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Heart of Darkness Styles, Characters and Signs

  1. Heart of Darkness Styles: colonialism

-hypocrisy of colonial effort
-In Europe, colonization of Africa was validated on the premises that it would civilize and inform the “savages”
-European colonizers used high perfects as a cover to enable them to viciously rip whatever wealth they could from Africa
-colonization damages white colonizers souls

  1. Heart of Darkness Themes: the hollowness of civilization

-unnamed European city “sepulchral city” (a hollow tomb)
-what Europeans call “civilization” is superficial, a mask produced by worry of the law and public shame that conceals a dark heart, just as a beautiful white sepulcher hides the rotting dead inside
-in the African jungle, “utter solitude without a policeman,” indicating that the civilized guy is plunged into a world without superficial limitations and the mad desire for power controls him (ex: Kurtz)

3. Heart of Darkness Themes: the lack of reality

-Marlow’s quest is a failure; Kurtz turns out to be the biggest monster of all
-Marlow finds out that at the heart of whatever there lies only darkness (ex: he lies to Kurtz’s fiance about his last words)
-you can’t understand other people and you can’t even actually know yourself
-there is no essential fact

4. Heart of Darkness Themes: work

-Marlow finds convenience in work; he left the jungle’s influence since he worked to do that kept him busy
-the only thing Marlow views in an entirely positive light
-refers to work/items related to work as “genuine,” while the remainder of the jungle and guys are “unreal”
-like a religion to him, a source of assistance that helps him hold on to his humankind
-horrified by laziness, bad work, or devices neglected to rush
-when other males don’t do sincere work, Marlow knows they have actually sunk into the heart of darkness or the hollow greed of civilization

5. Heart of Darkness Styles: racism

-attacks colonialism as a deeply problematic business run by corrupt and hollow white guys who perpetrate mass damage on the native population of Africa
-darkness = fact; whiteness = hollow hoax and lies
-Marlow views black natives as primitive and innocent while the white colonizers are sophisticated and corrupt

  1. Heart of Darkness Character: Marlow

-one of the five males on the ship in the Thames
-a seafarer
-due to the fact that of his journeys and of the character he was born with, he is philosophical, enthusiastic, and informative
-very skeptical of humanity and civilization
-nothing is simple to him
-thinks in work as a source of easy moral worth

  1. Heart of Darkness Character: Kurtz

-fiance of his “Planned”
-a guy of fantastic intellect, skill, and aspiration who is distorted by his time in the Congo
-the embodiment of all that’s honorable about Europe civilization (skill in arts, enthusiastic objectives of “civilizing” locals of Africa)
-Africa transforms him from a guy of moral concepts to a monster who makes himself a god among the natives
-his transformation proves that for all of his talent, aspiration, and moral concepts, he was hollow at the core
-“the horror, the horror”

  1. Heart of Darkness Character: General Manager

-the head of the Business’s Central Station on the river
-untalented and unexceptional, reached his position of power since of his capability to cause vague agitation in others and an ability to withstand jungle illness
-has no lofty ethical aspirations, cares just about his own power, position, and earning money

  1. Heart of Darkness Character: The Russian Trader

-a wanderer and trader who wears a multi-colored patched jacked that makes him appear like a harlequin (a jester)
-wound up alone in the jungle along the Congo
-ignorant and innocent, thinks Kurtz is a great male
-even nursed Kurtz back to health despite the fact that he once threatened to shoot him
-avoid trying to assert control over the jungle (unlike other white males in the Congo)

  1. Heart of Darkness Character: Storyteller

-one of the 5 guys on the ship in the Thames
-one who passes on to reader Marlow’s story
-insightful, comprehends Marlow
-little personality
-impacted by Marlow’s story

  1. Heart of Darkness Character: The Brickmaker

-the General Manager’s a lot of trusted representative
-a sly, lazy, power-hungry fellow who regardless of his title has never made a brick
-cares just about his own advancement and for that reason sees Kurtz as a threat
-thinks Marlow and Kurtz are allied within the business
-Marlow describes him as a “papier-mâché Mephistopheles” (devil)

  1. Heart of Darkness Symbol: ladies

-Marlow thinks ladies exist in a world of beautiful illusions that have absolutely nothing to do with truth or the real life
-females come to signify civilization’s capability to hide its hypocrisy and darkness behind lovely ideas (ex: when Marlow lies to Kurtz’s Planned as to not distress her with the fact)

  1. Heart of Darkness Symbol: the sepulchral city

-signifies all of European civilization
-the lovely white outside stimulates the lofty concepts and validations that Europeans utilize to justify colonization, while the concealed hollow inside the sepulcher conceals the hypocrisy and desire for power and wealth that genuinely motivate the colonial powers

  1. Heart of Darkness Sign: dark and white

-tweaks conventional idea of white as good and dark as wicked
-evil and excellent do not really use, everybody is complicit in atrocities happening in Africa
-whiteness (esp. in kind of white fog that surrounds the steamship) signifies blindness
-dark is represented by huge and inscrutable African jungle, associated with the unknowable and primitive heart of all guys (the heart of darkness)

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