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Joseph Conrad Essay Topics & Paper Examples

Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

Juxtaposition is one of the many literary element used in emphasis of a concept or an idea. In the novel Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad juxtaposes the motifs of light and dark to emphasize the wickedness present throughout the book. Through juxtaposition, Conrad not only emphasizes the darkness in Africa but also intensifies the dark hearts of the Europeans. The major darkness in the novel is the land of Africa itself. When Marlow first makes his way upstream with his crew, he describes the land of Africa as a dark place, saying that the river was “an empty stream, a great silence, an impenetrable forest. The air was warm, thick, heavy, sluggish. There was no joy in the brilliance of…

Heart of Darkness – Metaphorical or Physical Journey?

The worth of any physical journey can be measured by the value it has to the traveller; by the psychological, moral and philosophical insight gained during the course of travel. This is especially valid for a trip of such immense significance as the one undertaken by the narrator in Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, Marlow, as he travels along the Congo River in Africa. The symbolic importance of the Congo River is paramount throughout the novella; however, it is equally important to consider the role of the river on which the tale is told – the Thames, the centre of the nation that dominated colonial expansion. Both rivers offer a platform of observation of their respective societies – allowing Marlow…

Imperialism Within the Heart of Darkness

A phenomenon, The Heart of Darkness, is a classic novel by Joseph Conrad, who reward individuals with their dark nature. The darkness that the characters face within themselves is the anchor towards the main theme of imperialism. Native Africans, around the early 1900s, were victims of imperialism in the novel. The Europeans saw themselves as prodigies and felt everyone redundant wanted to be like them for they perceived themselves as extraordinary. The Europeans thought so highly of themselves that they wanted to civilize what they perceived the Native Africans to be—savages. Ironically, the process of civilization became imperialism, and the Europeans were the definition of savage while the Native Africans perceived themselves as civilized. Conrad strategically evolved this theme with…

In The Heart of Darkness

In The Heart of Darkness, Marlow learns firsthand the consequences, cruelty, commerce, and corruption of color consciousness in European colonialism. The mercantilism and capitalism which were gaining currency in Europe officially spread throughout the world by the colonialism. This focus on wealth acquisition drives the Europeans to loot African territories of the precious ivory, ignites the vicious cycle of violence and cruelty, dehumanizes the Natives of Africa, and takes modern racism to a whole new level under the pretext of civilizing and pacifying the African peoples. Marlow, who is the protagonist in this book along with Kurtz, bears testimony of his voyage to Africa that: “I have seen the devil of violence, and the devil of greed, and the devil…

Assess the importance of setting in Heart of Darkness

The setting is the basis of every story or novel, the basis of every prose work. Heart of Darkness is by no means an exception. Joseph Conrad’s nouvelle or rather said mysterious work is not being easily understood let alone assessed. But each reader of Heart of Darkness should try to solve the mystery the author has opened. The setting reveals itself to be a mystery within the mystery. What is really the setting of Conrad’s nouvelle? And is it at all important to the work as a whole? Is it the usual setting of an adventure story that was popular at the time, is it a place of darkness, the heart of it, or just the jungle in the…

Chinua Achebe’s “Things Fall Apart”

Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart is a story based on the traditional beliefs and customs of the Ibo tribe. Achebe portrays a realistic view of Africans, particularly the Ibo tribe, which opposes the view that a reader may have formed after reading other works, such as Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad. Although Achebe describes the fact that the tribe does not primarily consist of savages, the reader still needs to keep an open mind about the ideas that are presented. The reader may at first be appalled at some of the beliefs, but it should be brought into consideration that they are lead chiefly by traditions and customs. Many of these traditions and customs derive from their ideas on…

Contrasting “Conflict in Things Fall Apart” and “Heart of Darkness”

Heart of Darkness by Josef Conrad and Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe are two novels that are written to make a statement. Both are meant to stir the emotions of the reader, whether those emotions be anger, hope, frustration, joy, despair, or enlightenment. Both novels take place in the same location and same time period and involve the same groups of people. Both novels depict European imperialism in the African Congo in the 1800s. The obvious distinction between the two is that Heart of Darkness tells a tale from the European point of view while Things Fall Apart tells one from the Native African Tribe point of view. Both authors use extremely well developed characters to manifest and exhibit…

Achebe’s “An Image of Africa : Racism in Conrad’s Heart of Darkness”

Achebe’s “An Image of Africa : Racism in Conrad’s Heart of Darkness” (The Massachusetts Review, 18 (1977) : 782 – 94) expresses a passionate objection to Conrad’s point of view and portrayal of Africa and Africans in his novel Heart of Darkness. Achebe’s novel, Things Fall Apart, can be considered the direct opposition to Conrad’s Heart of Darkness and is seen to as a challenge on Conrad’s western views. I shall explore the validity in Achebe’s “An Image of Africa : Racism in Conrad’s Heart of Darkness” with regards to language, characterisation, religion and culture. Other opinions from critical readings will also be included and referenced to the two novels ( Things Fall Apart & Heart of Darkness ).Achebe felt…

Joseph Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness”

When Marlow talks of London being a dark place, the theme of civilization versus savagery comes into play. Marlow’s aunt believes he is an emissary of light, being sent into the darkness. Marlow sees this darkness through the placing of heads on poles, for a man named Kurtz. All of this makes Marlow change his inner feelings of himself, which relates to the theme of the journey of the inner self. Marlow talks of when the Romans first came to Britain, and how they had actually brought some light into the somberness of London, and how one day that light may disappear. This relates to the theme of dark and light. As Marlow tells of his voyage deeper into the…

Isolation in “Lord of the Flies” and “Heart of Darkness”

This is an awsome essay! Feel free to use it. Great comparison of books, excellent work. novels. Throughout Lord of the Flies and Heart of Darkness the importance of restraint is greatly stressed. This being the restraint to remain human and maintain sanity. In Heart of Darkness, Marlow was able to remain his restriant despite how difficult it was for him. He was always surrounded by cannibals and constant chaos. On the other hand, Kurtz was unable to keep his restriant, as a result he lost his humanity and sanity, and eventually died because of it. In Lord of the Flies, Ralph is able to restrain restrain, and he therefore remains human. He found it difficult though, because there was…