HEart Of Darkness

This essay has a total of 1335 words and 6 pages.

HEart Of Darkness




Heart of Darkness


In Heart of Darkness it is the white invaders for instance, who are, almost without
exception, embodiments of blindness, selfishness, and cruelty; and even in the cognitive
domain, where such positive phrases as "to enlighten," for instance, are conventionally
opposed to negative ones such as "to be in the dark," the traditional expectations are
reversed. In Kurtz's painting, as we have seen, "the effect of the torch light on the face
was sinister" (Watt 332).


Ian Watt, author of "Impressionism and Symbolism in Heart of Darkness," discusses about
the destruction set upon the Congo by Europeans. The destruction set upon the Congo by
Europeans led to the cry of Kurtz's last words, "The horror! The horror!" The horror in
Heart of Darkness has been critiqued to represent different aspects of situations in the
book. However, Kurtz's last words "The horror! The horror!" refer, to me, to magnify only
three major aspects. The horror magnifies Kurtz not being able to restrain himself, the
colonizers' greed, and Europe's darkness.


Kurtz comes to the Congo with noble intentions. He thought that each ivory station should
stand like a beacon light, offering a better way of life to the natives. He was considered
to be a "universal genius": he was an orator, writer, poet, musician, artist, politician,
ivory producer, and chief agent of the ivory company's Inner Station. yet, he was also a
"hollow man," a man without basic integrity or any sense of social responsibility. "Kurtz
issues the feeble cry, 'The horror! The horror!' and the man of vision, of poetry, the
'emissary of pity, and science, and progress' is gone. The jungle closes' round" (Labrasca
290). Kurtz being cut off from civilization reveals his dark side. Once he entered within
his "heart of darkness" he was shielded from the light. Kurtz turned into a thief,
murderer, raider, persecutor, and to climax all of his other shady practices, he allows
himself to be worshipped as a god. E. N. Dorall, author of "Conrad and Coppola: Different
Centers of Darkness," explains Kurtz's loss of his identity.


Daring to face the consequences of his nature, he loses his identity; unable to be totally
beast and never able to be fully human, he alternates between trying to return to the
jungle and recalling in grotesque terms his former idealism. Kurtz discovered, A voice! A
voice! It rang deep to the very last. It survived his strength to hide in the magnificent
folds of eloquence the barren darkness of his heart.... But both the diabolic love and the
unearthly hate of the mysteries it had penetrated fought for the possession of that soul
satiated with primitive emotions, avid of lying, fame, of sham distinction, of all the
appearances of success and power. Inevitably Kurtz collapses, his last words epitomizing
his experience, The horror! The horror! (Dorall 306).


The horror to Kurtz is about self realization; about the mistakes he committed while in Africa.

The colonizers' cruelty towards the natives and their lust for ivory also is spotlighted
in Kurtz's horror. The white men who came to the Congo professing to bring progress and
light to "darkest Africa" have themselves been deprived of the sanctions of their European
social orders. The supposed purpose of the colonizers' traveling into Africa was to
civilize the natives. Instead the Europeans took the natives' land away from them by
force. They burned their towns, stole their property, and enslaved them. "Enveloping the
horror of Kurtz is the Congo Free State of Leopold II, totally corrupt though to all
appearances established to last for a long time" (Dorall 309). The conditions described in
Heart of Darkness reflect the horror of Kurtz's words: the chain gangs, the grove of
death, the payment in brass rods, the cannibalism and the human skulls on the fence posts.


Africans bound with thongs that contracted in the rain and cut to the bone, had their
swollen hands beaten with rifle butts until they fell off. Chained slaves were forced to
drink the white man's defecation, hands and feet were chopped off for their rings, men
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