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Analysis Of ' Heart Of Darkness ' By Joseph Conrad Essay

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Madness is seen as the middle ground, a black and white line, between normality and abnormality, sanity and insanity. Heart of Darkness, a novella written by Joseph Conrad, centers around a sailor named Marlow, who struggles between awareness and madness as he journeys across the Congo River in Africa and comes into contact with the African residents and his surroundings, and Kurtz, a trader of ivory in Africa and commander of a trading post who struggles with madness both physically and mentally. Conrad is able to illustrate the theme of effects of madness through the fictional element of characterization, with both Marlow and Kurtz as his main focuses. One way the author displays the effects of madness is by documenting Marlow’s progression towards madness as more time passes by in Africa. At the beginning of the novel, before Marlow recalls his African encounter, the narrator describes Marlow as “not typical” (Conrad 3) because he is the only man out of the five aboard the ship that “follow[s] the sea” (3), but, at the same time, “[does] not represent his class [because he is] a wanderer, too” (3). Even before Marlow’s tale begins, he is already seen as crazy and odd among his fellow shipmates. This foreshadows how his character will be represented throughout the rest of the novel. His isolation among others is further shown when he leaves his hometown and begins his journey on to Africa on a French steamer; he isolates himself amongst the other passengers with
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