Essay on Conrad’s usage of imagery in the - Heart of Darkness -

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Conrad’s usage of imagery in the - Heart of Darkness -

Aristotle, a famous Greek philosopher, said that the aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance. If that is the case, then Joseph Conrad is a true artist regarding the pictures he paints with his words. Conrad's most effective literary tool for plot development and expressing the theme is his use of imagery. Karl, a noted critic, explains this technique that Conrad uses. “The scenes and images (that Conrad depicts) are a variety which permits extension and almost a limitless number of references are possible”(168). His use of imagery is so detailed and accurate, one feels as if they are in the scene he is describing.
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"...In some inland post feel the savagery, the utter savagery, had closed round him--all that mysterious life of the wilderness that stirs in the forest, in the jungles, in the hearts of wild men.
There's no initiation either into such mysteries. He has to live in the midst of the incomprehensible, which is detestable. And it has a fascination, too, which goes to work upon him. The fascination of the abomination--you know. Imagine the growing regrets, the longing to escape, the powerless disgust, the surrender, the hate"(Conrad 4).

In the story, Marlow saw what he thought to be civilized British settlers, but in reality, they were savages willing to do whatever it takes to make a profit. That is why Conrad describes their mother country as “one of the dark places of the Earth”(3). To sum up the harshness and cruelties of imperialism, Conrad explains that, “The conquest of the Earth, which mostly means the taking it away from those who have a different complexion or slightly flatter noses than ourselves, is not a pretty thing”(4).

Also, Conrad uses imagery to depict the journey up the Congo and through the darkness of the African Safari. There are two reasons why he described, in extensive detail, Marlow’s trip. The first reason was to show the effects of wilderness on the human heart. Guerard, an acclaimed critic, describes the significance of the actual journey.
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