Essay on Modernism in Literature

1532 Words 7 Pages
The turn of the 20th century conveyed revolution in psychological, social, and philosophical thought. It was time for something neoteric. It was time to break out of the mundane tradition. This time of revolution conceded men, such as Charles Darwin, Karl Marx, and Sigmund Freud, to rise to fame with their radical and cutting edge theories. Also, women were exasperated of their modeled roles in society. They sought to be independent, they longed to have the ability to vote, and most of all, they wanted legal equality. This time period also brought the renewal of European expansion. With new motivations, such as economic motivations, social imperialism, and the new theories of racial superiority, the British empire began concentrating on the …show more content…
The space in between the front lines of the defenders and the attackers was known as "No Man’s Land". ("Trench Warfare") Thousands of battle hardened soldiers would put their lives on the line by running into this "no man's land", just to win a few feet in the battle of the frontline. This led to hundreds of thousands of casualties just to gain two or three feet on the battlefield.
There is no better picture of this theory of irrational creatures than in Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness, which was published in 1902. ("Heart of Darkness") This novella is the story of a man, Marlow, who gathers a crew of sailors to journey down to the Congo, in British controlled Africa. As Marlow and his men begin the adventure down the river, they are soon given a mission to capture Mr. Kurtz, the best ivory extractor in all of Africa. The problem is, Kurtz has gone crazy, and his methods have gone tribal. The corporation believes he has gone insane. It's not until Marlow finally gets to Kurtz through a very trying journey, that he realizes Kurtz's actions are like the rest of ours, except Kurtz was tired of hiding behind civilization. Marlow realizes that we are all evil and we are all corrupt, but we attempt to hide it with civilization.
"The horror, the horror" (Conrad) are Kurtz last words he utters to Marlow before he dies. Kurtz realizes the life of evil he has lived, the…