Heart Of Darkness Except

This essay has a total of 1814 words and 8 pages.

Heart Of Darkness


In this paper I will show the effect the "Heart of Darkness" had on Kurtz in the stages
prior to, the Kurtz in transition, and at the end of his journey.


The Kurtz prior to his journey was a man with a noble heart. We learn about Kurtz prior to
his journey by listening to the conversations Marlow has when he returns from Africa.
Marlow talked with Kurtz' cousin, an old colleague, and his Intended. Kurtz "was a
universal genius" (244). The old colleague told of "how the man could talk. He electrified
large meetings. He had faith…He could get himself to believe anything" (244). Marlow
fully agreed with this statement. Marlow said, "This is the reason why I affirm that Kurtz
was a remarkable man. He had something to say. He said it" (241).


He was one of those men who you had to admire. You HAD to love him, if you knew him. The
Intended said, "she had been worthy of him" (248). She speaks of him as almost a god. The
Intended promises Marlow she was worthy of him, she had all his noble confidence. Their
engagement wasn't approved because Kurtz wasn't wealthy enough. Kurtz had the ability to
draw "men towards him by what was best in them" (249). This is the gift of the great.
Kurtz was a great man. He was a born leader.


The Kurtz prior to the journey seems to be a man with a heart of gold. "His goodness shone
in every act" (250). But in actuality his soul was conformed by society and the "warning
voice of a kind neighbor" (206). He was a man with principles just because principles were
all around him. Kurtz was dependent on that kind neighbor to keep him noble.


The Kurtz in transition was a man with a heart that understands what is going on in the
jungle. Kurtz is described as a first-class agent, a very remarkable person, who will go
very far. Kurtz drew a painting of a woman, draped and blindfolded, carrying a lighted
torch. The painting had a background that was somber-almost black. Her movements were
stately, and the effect of the torch-light on the face was sinister (169). Kurtz had
painted this while he was at the Central Station. This painting is Kurtz' view of the
colonization of Africa. The blindfold refers to the lack of vision that the advancing
civilization going into Africa has. Marlow agrees. He refers to the colonists, as "men
going at it blind-as is very proper for those who tackle a darkness" (140). The torch
usually means bearers of a spark from the sacred fire, bearers of Christianity. But in
this sense, the torch seems to be destructive, a tool that is used to start fires on the
savages' homes. This gives the sinister effect on the face. Christianity isn't being
served; the torch is being used for evil. All this means that Kurtz actually realizes all
that is happening. Kurtz is beginning to understand what this foreboding evil is, the
darkness all around him.


Kurtz is said to be "a prodigy…an emissary of pity, and science, and progress, and devil
knows what else" (169). This was said by the "brick-maker" who didn't make any bricks.
This man realized the potential Kurtz had. A prodigy is a genius, someone with a lot of
potential. As an emissary of pity he is one who represents the savages. He came to the
jungle to write a paper about the savages and their customs; He was their ambassador. As
an emissary of science, he was one that had great plans and ideas as to how to control the
savages and not rape the land. As an emissary of progress he represented someone who could
change the relationship with the savages. He came out to the jungle with moral ideas of
some sort. In the end he turned it for the worse by taking advantage of them. The devil
does know what else. I believe the devil was a large part of Kurtz; the darkness had sunk
in along with the devil.


In the transition Kurtz realizes what the darkness does to men there. He believes that he
can overcome the darkness. He believes he can bring his moral ideas and change the way
they colonize the darkness. He believes he can change how the white man treats the savage.
He believes he can take the sinister torch and make it a spark from the sacred fire.


Kurtz at the end of the journey is a man with a heart of darkness. His heart had been
overcome by the evil. He is so enveloped by the darkness that he doesn't want to leave it.
This is seen when he tries to crawl out of the steamboat and back to the savages' fires.
It is shown earlier when he comes down the river with the ivory in the canoes and then
turns back, just short of the central station. I believe this is a turning point in the
book. Instead of coming out of the darkness he decides to go against the flow (of the
common man and the river) and head back into it. The darkness has its grip on Kurtz by
now.


Kurtz is described as "being a gifted creature, and that of all his gifts the one that
stood out…was his ability to talk, his words-the gift of expression, the bewildering,
the illuminating, the most exalted and the most contemptible, the pulsating stream of
light, or the deceitful flow from the heart of an impenetrable darkness" (203-204). This
quote shows that he could talk, but it was what he talked about that mattered. He once
spoke from the light, but now it flows from the heart of an impenetrable darkness.


Marlow says "The thing was to know what he (Kurtz) belonged to, how many powers of
darkness claimed him for their own" (206). Marlow begins to see that Kurtz has been
corrupted by the darkness. Marlow also knows what causes this corruption. It is the
absence of civilization. Marlow says "surrounded by kind neighbors ready to cheer you or
to fall on you, stepping delicately between the butcher and the policeman…how can you
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