Heart of Darkness; Setting Analysis
Heart of Darkness, by Joseph Conrad is the story of a man by the name of Charles Marlow who recounts his journey up the Congo River to a group of friends, years after the events occurred. His story tells of him becoming a captain of a ship, and his adventure trying to navigate the Congo river. This story is based in the early 1800’s when slavery and colonization of Africa and african people were big political issues. During this time Belgium had been slowly taking over the Congo and using its natural resources. The goal, or some said the cover of European settlement in the Congo was to colonize and to “enlighten” those who were not yet “civilized”. Allthough this was a part of the colonzation, there were definitely those there for their own personal wealth. Europeans would go over as “pilgrims” but as marlow says, were there based fully on greed. The two main ...view middle of the document...
No change appeared on the face of the rock. They were building a railway. The cliff was not in the way or anything; but this objectless blasting was all the work going on.”(80 hihat people turn to when there is no civilization. Without the infrastructure of a basic civilization, nothing good comes out. While the congo was supposed to be turning into a glimmering land of enlightenment, it was full of greed, dirtiness, and aimless wandering.
The fact that man is basically evil is not shown in this book by dialouge, or even by characters, but by Conrad’s description of the setting around Marlow. When Marlow arrives on the Congo river, he is given the mission to go up the river to get ivory from a buisinessman named Krutz. Krutz is known for his amazing buisiness talent and is looked at as a shining beacon of enlightenement in the dark Congo jungle. Once Marlow arives at Krutz’s hut far up the river, he is greeted by an unexpected sight. “There were no signs of life… Now I had suddenly a nearer view and its first result was to make me throw my head back as if before a blow… These round knobs were not ornamental but symbolic; they were expressive and puzzling, striking and disturbing -- food for thought and also for vultures if there had been any looking down from the sky; but at all events for such ants as were industrious enough to ascend the pole. They would have been even more impressive, those heads on the stakes, if their faces had not been turned to the house.”(132) In the book Conrad points out that the heads were not pointed outwards, as to scare off enemies, but they were pointed inwards as if to remind himself of all the people he’d killed. This goes to show that even the amazing Krutz, once taken out of civilization succumbs to the evil inside him. He began to enjoy the power he had. Eventually he even began to enjoy killing. “There was nothing exactly profitable in these heads being there. They only showed that Mr. Kurtz lacked restraint in the gratification of his various lusts.”(133)