Heart Of Darkness

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Heart Of Darkness

Heart of Darkness

Heart of Darkness, by Joseph Conrad is a fictional novel with an overflow of symbolism.
Throughout the entire novel Conrad uses a plethora of simple colors, objects, and places
in order to clarify very complex meanings. By doing this, Conrad is able to lure the
reader into a world unlike his or her own: the Congo River, located in central Africa.
Although the interpretation of these symbols is so elaborate, the simplicity of each makes
it somewhat easy to overlook. A few examples of the many symbols found in Conrad's novel
include the jungle, as well as the colors of white and black, better known as the colors
of life and death.

In Heart of Darkness, the images of black and white have the usual connotations of evil
and good. These pigments are found throughout the entire book. Ironically, although black,
the native Africans seem to represent a sort of good by doing what they feel is right. On
the other hand, the white foreigners carry themselves with some kind of evil as they
exploit the great kindness of the blacks. I guess you could say that the white men were
filled with a black hatred inside. Another example is found when Marlow enters the Belgian
company's office. Sitting in the office are two women dressed almost completely in black.
Marlow is no beginning to understand the seriousness of the journey he is going to make.
Even his predecessor dies because of a quarrel over two black hens. The usage of black is
almost too much to handle. Another example that I also

remembered from the movie was how Kurtz's pictures were always placed within

a dark ebony back round. Another ironic example is the continued description

of the white ivory. Its beautiful white shine makes it look righteous, even though it
really demonstrates a great evil as the elephants were being destroyed along with other

Other colors were of importance as well to truly understand the symbolic nature of the
story. The plaid patches and trimmings on the Russian's harlequin clothes portray his
ever-changing moods and foolish, light-hearted behavior. By simply using a description of
clothing, Conrad is able to show us how he tends to stay out of trouble with his
befriending nature. The color yellow will usually symbolize some sort of corruption or
decay. We first read about yellow as it marks the area of Congo on the map in the Brussels
office. The last of the symbolic hues is a dreary pale expression. The pale look of the
ivory company's manager denotes death. Pale is thought of as deathly because of a quote in
the bible about a pale horse being ridden. Riding that horse is none other than death
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