Psychological Analysis Of Joseph Conrad's Heart Of Darkness

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Psychological Analysis of Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness

Heart of Darkness is intriguing, like Hamlet or like a Kafka novel, in that readers taken by power of the story never feel quite satisfied with their attempts to intellectualize the experience (Stewart, 36). Novels do not have to be long to have credible literary merit. Such is the case with Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad. Heart of Darkness is quite short, yet superior and intriguing, due to the content of the novel.

Throughout the novel, Conrad expresses his dislike with the 'civilized' white people exploiting the 'savage' black Africans. Heart of Darkness was written during the time of British imperialism and extreme exploitation of Africans in the Congo. The British were exploiting the Africans in an effort to extract ivory from the primitive jungle. Marlow tells us that he was struck by the sounds of the congo night...That sexual tremor of 'sinking' and 'swelling' sounds less faint to Marlow after he has arrived at the Station and reached the pitch of his bewilderment and despair (Fothergill, 126).

The imagery that Conrad uses is very vivid. Marlow provides images of the boat which Marlow and his crew took up the river. Marlow also provides images of each character, like the accountant for instance. One of the main stylistic devices that define Conrad's Heart of Darkness is his use of symbolism in it. "The smells of the congo stir Marlow, and open him to the strange beauties of the jungle night" (Glassman 206). The symbolism in Heart of Darkness is what makes the novel so amazing and puzzling. Everything in the novel symbolizes, alludes to, or allegorizes something in some way. From the way Marlow is sitting in the Nellie, to the constant repetition of darkness or light symbols, to the different representations of characters, namely Kurtz, all mean something and make an attempt to express Conrad's ideas and messages. The symbols were a way of trying to get across what went on in his mind. Conrad seems to be on another level of enlightenment with this novel and he is trying to pass it on to others.

The Manager of the Central station, the Russian Harlequin, and, on Marlow's return, to Europe, the Company representative, the 'cousin', the journalist, and the Intended - all these offer Marlow (and us) their skeletal stories of Kurtz" (Fothergill 11). Marlow's credibility as a narrator and story teller seem reliable through the narrator who introduces Marlow, he is a wanderer, an adventurer. But unlike other seamen, he is one who embraces rather than complacently ignores the unknown and uncertain...Marlow's stories do not contain their meaning positively, at the end of their telling, like an answer to a riddle or a moral tag to a proverb, but rather evoke in course of telling" (D. C. R. A. 34).

Throughout the novel, readers learn more and more about Kurtz as Marlow moves up the river. Through this movement readers also see character development of Marlow. Marlow is a worker. In fact, he needs ...
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