Heart of Darkness: Cruelty

1102 words 5 pages
Heart of Darkness: Cruelty

David Yu

In Joseph Conrad's book Heart of Darkness the Europeans are cut off from civilization, overtaken by greed, exploitation, and material interests from his own kind. Conrad develops themes of personal power, individual responsibility, and social justice. His book has all the trappings of the conventional adventure tale - mystery, exotic setting, escape, suspense, unexpected attack. The book is a record of things seen and done by Conrad while in the Belgian Congo. Conrad uses Marlow, the main character in the book, as a narrator so he himself can enter the story and tell it out of his own philosophical mind. Conrad's voyages to the Atlantic and Pacific, and the coasts of Seas of the East brought
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Conrad's Heart of Darkness mentioned nothing about the trading of rubber. Conrad and Marlow did not care for ivory; they cared about the exploration into the "darkest Africa." A painting of a blindfolded woman carrying a lighted torch was discussed in the book. The background was dark, and the effect of the torch light on her face was sinister. The oil painting represents the blind and stupid ivory company, fraudulently letting people believe that besides the ivory they were taking out of the jungle, they were, at the same time, bringing light and progress to the jungle. Conrad mentioned in his diary that missions were set up to
Christianize the natives. He did not include the missions into his book because the land was forcibly taken away from the natives, thus bringing in a church does not help if the natives have no will. Supplies brought in the country were left outdoors and abandoned, and a brick maker who made no bricks, lights up the fact that the Europeans do not care to help the natives progress.
When Marlow reached the first station, he saw what used to be tools and supplies, that were to help progress the land, laid in waste upon the ground.

"I came upon a boiler wallowing in the grass, then found a path leading up the hill. It turned aside for the boulders and also for an undersized railway truck lying there on


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