In What way is Heart Darkness an account Of Marlow’s journey into the sub-conscious state Of his mind?
•Heart of Darkness is Marlow’s exploration of his own mind as much as his exploration of the Congo’. Discuss.
Heart of Darkness is a record of a two-fold journey—a journey into the Congo, which had at Conrad’s time not yet been fully explored, and a journey into the dark recess of Marl(Ws mind and in a sense into the dark realm of the human mind in general. While narrating his experiences onboard, the Nellie to a small group of his friends, Marlow gives them not only his experiences of outward happenings but also his inward reactions to those experiences. Marlow’s encounter with the Manager of the Central Station and the Brick-maker there also gives rise to many thoughts in his mind. The manager seemed to be a man of an empty brain. while the Brick-maker appeared to be a clever and curious man who asked Marlow whether he had any influence over the higher officials of the trading company. Although Marlow hates telling lies, he let the Brickmaker assume that he did have a lot of influence over the high officials Of the company. Marlow also reflects upon work ethic. He had to work very hard to pull the “Tecked steamer out of the river and repair it. He did not like the work, but he liked what was in the work because work gives a man the chance to find himself and his own reality.
In command of a steamer on a strange and unknown river, Marlow felt like a blind-folded man driving his motor-van over a bad road. He also reacted to the scenery, “We penetrated deeper and deeper into the heart of darkness.” Further Marlow’s reflections on the hunger and self-restraint of the cannibal’s crew are noteworthy. The hungry cannibals could easily kill the white men on board the steamer and eat their flesh, but they did not do so. Marlow sees the cannibals with great admiration and curiosity about their impulses, motives, capacities, and weaknesses. Again we find him admiring Mr. Kurtz despite his demonic Character.
Even after returning to Europe, Marlow remains loyal to Mr. Kurtz’s memory, because, when Mr. Kurtz’s fiancee asks him what his last words were before his death, Marlow tells her a lie and Says that Mr. Kurtz’s last word was her own name. ‘This loyalty to Mr. Kurtz may be explained as Marlow’s own response to the primitivism symbolizes the white men’s greed and commercial mentality. Item chief concern in the Congo is to collect ivory, although they profess that they have come to civilize the natives. Nowhere do we find any mention of any service being rendered by these white men to the natives Of Congo. A glorious example of evil and selfishness we find in Mr. Kurtz. He has begun to identify himself with the savages. Instead Of improving their way of life, he has himself become a savage in their company.
Actually, Heart of Darkness portrays, in a nutshell, the deceit, robberies, murder, slave trading, and general policy Of cruelty of the Belgian rule in the Congo. Conrad in this novel not only exposes the hollowness and the weakness of the Belgian imperialist rule over the Congo but also reminds us of the British imperialism in various countries of the world of his time. To sum up, the Belgian Trading Company went to the then dark continent, “the Congo” to civilize the natives there. But ironically they became uncivilized and brutish for material gains. They turned out to seasoned schemers and Plotters. Joseph Conrad conveys his strong disapproval of these white men to us most effectively and histo raise in us the greatest possible contempt for these Whiteman.
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