Essay on The Heart Of Darkness

Submitted By sandsdaniel
Words: 797
Pages: 4

“The Heart of Darkness”
Response paper
Daniel Sands

Joseph Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness” is a fictional tale of a man (Marlow) who sails from London to the heart of Belgian Congo in the end of the 19th century. Conrad depicts the motives of European Imperialism for political, economic, and ideological reasons thru his characters and the way he uses words to describe the scenes and how they appear throughout the book. The description by “Marlow (one of the stories narrators)”of the accountant when he first arrives in Africa is a perfect example of this, “I met a white man in such an unexpected elegance of get-up that in the first moment I took him for a sort of vision. I saw a high, starched collar, white cuffs, a light alpaca jacket, snowy white trousers, a clean necktie, and varnished boots. No hat. Hair parted, brushed, oiled, under a green lined parasol held a big white hand. He was amazing and had a pen-holder behind his ear.” (page21) Marlow is one of the main characters of the book that narrates most of the story. He is a well-traveled sailor who is sent to the heart of Africa to find “Kurtz”, a manager of an Ivory out post that nobody had seen or heard from in about 6 months. From the time he arrives in Africa to the time he leaves he sees and witnesses several instances where the natives are mistreated and abused while the Europeans waste valuable resources. Marlow witnesses a man who is badly beaten for burning down a hut full of supplies (who is probably innocent) because the manager is stalling the repair of the steamer that is to take Marlow up the river to Kurtz. This is one of the many examples of imperialism, where the Europeans are imposing their will upon the natives through control from fear. As Marlow slowly makes his way to find Kurtz, a man that has almost reached a status of legendary because of his ability to produce ivory at almost any cost. Mostly with the disregard of human life, Kurtz has built a corps of natives loyal to him because of his brutality. He was even able to deliver a shipment of ivory down several hundred miles of river in only a dugout canoe with a couple native men paddling. Conrad shows a clear duality in Kurtz with his black native mistress “a wild and gorgeous apparition of a woman. She walked with measured steps, draped in striped and fringed cloths, treading the earth proudly with a slight jingle and flash of barbarous ornaments. She carried her head high, her hair was done in the shape of a helmet, she had brass leggings to the knees [...] She was savage and superb, wild-eyed and magnificent; there was something ominous and stately in her deliberate process. [...] the colossal body of the fecund and mysterious life seemed to look at her.” (page 60) and his fiancé in London.
In my opinion, Kurtz represents the worst of European Imperialisms greed because he took advantage of and completely ravaged the country he was in to make a profit. Everything he did was motivated by money and the