Heart of Darkness Essay

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Pages: 18

The Visions of Light Vs Darkness
When Joseph Conrad composed Heart of Darkness he created a literary masterpiece which embodied the essence of light contrasting with darkness. Throughout the novel Conrad constantly utilizes the images of light and dark and uses them to mold a vision, which the reader is then able to use to decipher the literal and metaphorical meanings of the novel. As Conrad said, " my task which I am trying to achieve is, by the power of the written word to make you hear, to make you feel- it is, before all, to make you see." (Crankshaw 34) In Heart of Darkness Conrad makes the reader "see" by absorbing into every aspect possible of the book images of lightness and darkness. The light and dark images of the novel
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Once at the inner station the setting alters to that of infernal worship. Marlow in the beginning of the third part of the novel describes the setting as he first encounters the inner station:
I looked around, and I don't know why, but I assure you that never, never before, did this land, this river, this jungle, the very arch of this blazing sky appear to me so hopeless and so dark, so impenetrable to human thought, so pitiless to human weakness. (Conrad 94)
Just the setting itself is so concentrated with the darkness of Kurtz that it almost consumes Marlow's soul. It is supernatural the way that Kurtz is treated like a divine creator, his powers are infinite and he grotesquely abuses them. Kurtz had been so devoured by the darkness within himself that this led him to irrational violence. Those who displeased Kurtz would have to confront his violent wrath. The remains of these unfortunates are viewed by the rest of the cult, upon the stakes that pierce through the remains of their withered skulls. Marlow, somehow, survives his confrontation with the darkness in the Congo and conquers his fears. He is then able to return back to the light setting of civilization.
The setting would not be such a significant factor of the novel if it weren't combined with the symbolic images located within the setting. Nearly every object of this dense book contains a deeper meaning, which in some way can