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The Landscape In Heart Of Darkness And Cormac Mccarthy's The Road

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Limited in their ability to represent the characters’ conditions without explicit statements, authors cannot elucidate each event and character’s thought while continuing to hold the reader’s attention. Therefore, many authors utilize the landscape of the story to parallel a character or group of characters. Both Joseph Conrad, author of Heart of Darkness, and Cormac McCarthy, author of The Road, manipulate the landscape to represent the human condition. In Heart of Darkness, Conrad personifies the landscape as a fluid character, so as the reader begins to further comprehend the landscape’s meaning, Marlow’s understanding of the people around him becomes more clear. Likewise, in The Road, McCarthy utilizes the ashy remains of the forest as…show more content…
For Marlow, like most of the men who ventured into the Congo, “the snake had charmed [him]”(Conrad 6). Yellow represents deception, disease, and fear, and with the image of the deadly snake slithering through the center, Conrad makes an allusion to the Bible. While the Congo may have once been full of vibrant plants and beautiful animals, the presence of Europeans who had the disease of evil in them, a spark of greed that became a raging fire, resulted in a plundering of the native land and the native people.
As Marlow struggles to contextualize and express the landscape of the Congo at the beginning of the novel, he struggles to do the same for the human race. Conrad makes it clear that Marlow always wanted to explore the unknown. Africa, however, does not want to be discovered. By personifying the African landscape, Conrad creates the image of an invisible force made of the bushes, the trees, and the smoke. Marlow first observes this unseen force when he watches the French warship “firing onto the continent” as if there were someone or something to kill. He remarks that, despite their efforts, “nothing could happen” (Conrad 11). The French were attacking the force, one that would reappear throughout the novella, because they did not understand it. Marlow also struggles to describe the landscape of Africa, denoting it as “smiling, frowning, inviting, grand,
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