Essay about Heart of Darkness Notes

Submitted By sailin4life
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Heart of Darkness Questions 1. Identify each of the following main characters as you read. Briefly describe each character as well as explaining their significance.
○ General Manager ­
The manager is jealous of Kurtz's success, but other than that he's a total blank—which is the point. He babbles a lot, but about nothing meaningful and his creepy smile is described as "seal applied on words to make the meaning of the commonest phrase appear absolutely inscrutable" (1.52).
○ Brickmaker ­
The brickmaker is another rather useless worker in the crew at
Central Station. Conrad is most likely showing an example of anti­semitism here allowing the reader to compare characters.
○ Chief Accountant ­ Called a “miracle” because he manages to wear fine linen while living in the jungle
○ Pilgrims ­
The bumbling, greedy agents of the Central Station. They carry long wooden staves with them everywhere, reminding Marlow of traditional religious travelers. They all want to be appointed to a station so that they can trade for ivory and earn a commission, but none of them actually takes any effective steps toward achieving this goal. They are obsessed with keeping up a veneer of civilization and proper conduct, and are motivated entirely by self­interest. They hate the natives and treat them like animals, although in their greed and ridiculousness they appear less than human themselves.
○ Cannibals ­
Natives hired as the crew of the steamer, a surprisingly reasonable and well­tempered bunch. Marlow respects their restraint and their calm acceptance of adversity. The leader of the group, in particular, seems to be intelligent and capable of ironic reflection upon his situation.
○ Harlequin/ Russian trader ­
The harlequin is a Russian man who helps Kurtz and is considered his "disciple." He says that Kurtz has an enlarged mind.
○ Helmsman ­
A young man from the coast trained by Marlow’s predecessor to pilot the steamer. He is a serviceable pilot, although Marlow never comes to view him as much more than a mechanical part of the boat. He is killed when the steamer is attacked by natives hiding on the riverbanks.
○ Kurtz’s fiancee (the Intended) ­
The Intended is essentially a stand­in for every woman,. Her value is measured by her beauty and idealism. In other words, men need women to be beautiful and dumb so there's some bit of goodness in the world. Shows that during the time women were not viewed any better than the savages and it was believed that the had no really beneficial purpose in society than to give birth to sons.
2. As you read the novel, be aware of how Conrad uses repeated “doubling” patterns of opposition and contrast in
Heart of Darkness
: light and dark, white and black, “savagery”





and “civilization,” outer and inner? What does Conrad accomplish by this contrast, especially of light and dark?
○ Death vs. Life, Evil vs, Goodness, Ignorance vs, Enlightenment, Savagery vs.
■ This symbolism is not new, these connotations have been present in society for centuries. According to Heart of Darkness, before the Romans came, England was dark. In the same way, Africa was considered to be in the "dark stage" and that england will bring the light.
Describe the use of “darkness” both in the book’s title and as a symbol throughout the text. What does darkness represent? Is its meaning constant or does it operate in different ways? ○ Blaintledly darkness can represent the color of the native’s skin and what the heart of their existence is. Also darness can represent the evil and horridness of the circumstances that happened during imperialism. However because we know that that show the evil, uncleanliness, and savagery of the native people.Conrad is a racist one can assume that the abundance of the work dark or darkness is
How is the river used as a symbol in the novel? Consider how Europeans use it, the difficulty of journeying up…