Heart of Darkness Essay

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The Visions of Light Vs Darkness
When Joseph Conrad composed Heart of Darkness he created a literary masterpiece which embodied the essence of light contrasting with darkness. Throughout the novel Conrad constantly utilizes the images of light and dark and uses them to mold a vision, which the reader is then able to use to decipher the literal and metaphorical meanings of the novel. As Conrad said, " my task which I am trying to achieve is, by the power of the written word to make you hear, to make you feel- it is, before all, to make you see." (Crankshaw 34) In Heart of Darkness Conrad makes the reader "see" by absorbing into every aspect possible of the book images of lightness and darkness. The light and dark images of the novel
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(Telegan 98)
In the above mentioned quote Diane Telegan sums up the theme of light and darkness and even goes on farther to discuss the effects of it to a human. She suggests that it is the setting of the Congo that causes Kurtz to go insane. The setting causes many of the characters to go insane, " The sun was too much for him, or the country perhaps" (Conrad 80). Marlow says this as he views the body left hanging on the limb of a tree after the native took his own life. Marlow assumes that the native killed himself because he could not deal with life in as harsh as a setting as the Congo is. This is at the beginning of the novel before Marlow has begun on his journey within his heart. Perhaps if his journey had already begun, Marlow would have assumed that it was the darkness that he could not live with. Shortly after this scene Marlow begins his journey to the inner station.
Once on the journey into the Congo it is very important to notice the transformation of the jungle itself as Marlow travels closer to Kurtz. When Marlow first enters the Congo it is not that dense with forest. The sun flows heavily through the trees causing great discomfort. Once Marlow is aboard the ship and on his passage down the river the forest becomes more and more impenetrable. The river is dark brown and just barely
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