Internal Conflict In Heart Of Darkness

1483 Words6 Pages
The novella Heart of Darkness was written in 1899. At the turn of the century, the author, Joseph Conrad, was 32 and lived through what he writes about. In a journey through Congo, Conrad uses the novella’s central character Marlowe to represent himself and portray his experiences. Like many other writers and artists throughout history, people of his time did not appreciate his work. Even the true meaning of the novel was not understood until later. In the novella Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad uses a literal and figurative journey through Congo to portray an internal conflict that exists within the protagonist, Marlowe. Through symbolism, the author analyzes the ‘inner spirit’ that each individual member of society possesses and how…show more content…
At this point we are able to see the state of mind Marlowe was in. He seems to separate himself from the darkness. He sees himself as exempt from possessing darkness. This of course was just at the beginning of his journey. The author’s use of words colossal, black, and creeping create a mysterious tone that makes the journey seem intimidating but at the same time, draws the reader in. However, the phrase, “glitter of the ocean” creates a stark contrast from the previous wording. The ocean symbolizes his path back home. Additionally, a theme of light and dark comes into play here. Going farther into the continent means losing his innocence and an almost naive mindset. His understanding of what is truly dark would grow, and he would no longer be able to see his home and what he knew as light.
Marlowe started upon his journey into the unknown: “But there was in it one river especially, a mighty big river, that you could see on the map, resembling an immense snake uncoiled, with its head in the sea, its body at rest curving afar over a vast country, and its tail lost in the depths of the land. And as I looked at the map of it in a shop-window, it fascinated me as a snake would a bird—a silly little bird.” (page 10). As stated here, the river seemed to remind Marlowe of a snake, and he was fascinated by it. This seems to be a reference to the biblical story of Adam and Eve, where the snake symbolizes deceit and
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