The Facade of Civilization Explored in Heart of Darkness and Heart of the Matter

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The Facade of Civilization Explored in Heart of Darkness and Heart of the Matter

Heart of Darkness and The Heart of the Matter afford glimpses into the human psyche, explorations deep into human nature. In each, the frailty of the facade we call “civilization” is broken, by external forces portrayed by Conrad and internal ones by Greene. In both stories there is one who falls pray to corruption and one who is witness both submerged in forces that will not be silenced or reasoned with.

'Wilson sat on the balcony of the Bedford Hotel with his bald pink knees thrust against the ironwork.' He looked out toward the ocean - past the spire of the church thrust into the sky in defiance of the uniform serrated, tin
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Also the setting, though somewhat similar, is still quite distinguishable, allowing for the development of different themes; Conrad's is set in a wild outpost deep in the center of Africa and Greene's occurs in a well-colonized port somewhere in West Africa. The natural forces of depravity are rampant, in fact infective, in the steamy, dense jungles in which Kurtz dwells. Scobie, on the other hand, is allowed a more physically peaceful existence, struggling not with the physical but with an inner turmoil.

"You're the new captain?"

"That's right."

"Have a drink."

Wilson took three ice cubes from a small bucket that was now filled with more water than ice, dropped them into a glass identical to the one in his hand and filled it to the brim with pink gin. He handed it to Marlow and refilled his own half-empty glass, almost instinctually. Both sat in silence staring toward the sea, pierced only by the sounds of a vulture alighting from the roof and the clink of the ice against the glass.

"When I first came here, I would never drink during the day," Wilson suddenly said.

"Why did you start?"

"Things change."

Both stories begin similarly, in each there is an adventurer blindly beginning a journey into the uncontrolled forces

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