Light and Dark in Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness Essay example

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Light and Dark in Heart of Darkness

Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness is a tragic tale of the white man's journey into the African jungle. When we peel away the layers, however, a different journey is revealed - we venture into the soul of man, complete with the darkness of depravity as well as the wonderful. In this essence Conrad uses this theme of light and darkness to contrast the civilized European world with the savage African world in Heart of Darkness.

As aforementioned, within Heart of Darkness, Conrad uses light and dark to symbolize good and evil, respectively.

"It is whiteness that is truly sinister and evil, for it symbolizes the immoral scramble for loot by the unscrupulous and unfeeling Belgian traders
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As well as the obvious difference between the white and black, we can perhaps see how the boy is trapped beneath and within white greed.

This leads me on to the struggle between the white people and the native tribes, which plays into the next theme, that of light versus dark. From the very start, Marlow, the main character, creates a sense of darkness.

At last, in its curved and imperceptible fall, the sun sank low, and from glowing white changed to a dull red without rays and without heat, as if about to go out suddenly, stricken to death by the touch of that gloom brooding over a crowd of men"(Conrad 28).

The use of imperceptible shows the way in which darkness falls without distinction, it sneaks up on the reader and indeed the scene. The dull red is lifeless and without energy and remains stagnant in its nature. Finally the use of the description, stricken to death the finally notion of darkness at its worse is given.

Marlow's use of a modern city is the first glimpse of what he considers civilized and more importantly, uncivilized. Marlow begins by speaking of the occupants of the boat. He explains that the owner of the boat is an accountant and a lawyer. This fact alludes to the idea of what might be considered civilized. Furthermore the discussion he talks about the lights that are reflected in the water. This also creates the idea that he considers himself and the passengers
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