Joseph Conrad's Heart Of Darkness Essay

2320 words - 10 pages

An Analysis of Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness
The early years of Joseph Conrad were rather unpleasant, but he managed to prevail and became a prolific writer of English fiction. Joseph Conrad was born Jozkef Teodor Konrad Korzeniowski to a Polish family in a Ukranian province on December 3, 1857 (Heart of Darkness). When Joseph Conrad was just three years old, his father was arrested on suspicion of revolutionary affiliation. At eight years of age, Conrad witnessed his mother die of tuberculosis. Her death was followed by her husband's when Conrad was just twelve. He became an orphan, who was taken in by his father's uncle. Under the care of his uncle, he was introduced to a lifestyle contrasting the revolutionary ideals of his father. Conrad was indoctrinated with the conservative ideals. He was torn between the teachings of his father and his uncle, but from his uncle's teaching he made a very important decision. He decided he did not like the Christian religion. He disliked any dogmatic belief that separated men and women because of race, nationality or religion. In 1874, Conrad became a seaman, fascinated by the sea. He sailed to many places, especially in Africa and Asia, first as a sailor and then as a captain (British Humanist Association). During his travels he witnessed division caused by religious belief and dogmatic attitudes in the many countries he visited (British Humanist Association). Conrad's childhood, humanist outlook, and experiences at sea influenced all his great writings. His journey to Congo in 1890 influenced his most famous novel, Heart of Darkness. During his visit to Congo he witnessed the corruption that ran rampant under the rule of King Leopold II. He captured his experiences and created an image of the realities of imperialism throughout Congo by way of the novel's main characters, Marlow and Kurtz. Heart of Darkness is a novella narrated by two men. The first narrator is a passenger on a ship who listening to one of the members tells his story. The second narrator is Marlow, a ship's captain, telling of one of his experiences. Throughout the story Marlow recounts his journey to a Belgian territory in the Congo, to meet with a man named Kurtz. Kurtz is known as one of the best agents in the Belgian Trading Company, in charge of a major trading post deep within the jungle. While traveling, Marlow witnesses first-hand what imperialism is really is. Kurtz has been a major factor in the Company and has lost all sense of morality. Marlow disagrees with Kurtz's immoral actions, but he comes into conflict with his beliefs and the temptation to abandon all morality himself. In this novel, Conrad's condemnation of imperialism and humanistic outlook are portrayed through the themes of hypocrisy of imperialism, madness caused by imperialism, and absurdity of evil. He is able to portray these themes through his characters and their observations.
Conrad basically speaks though the main character, Marlow, as he tells...

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