Heart of Darkness

Brightening the Meaning of Darkness College

The enigma of adventure literature and hyper-masculine prose reveals itself when the protagonist or a subordinate character cowers in the face of darkness. The unknown strikes the heart of man and satiates his inner desire to meet a force grander than he. The darkness, not frightening in and of itself, is frightening because it conceals that which lies in its folds. In his novella Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad explores common human questions through the exploration of his narrator, Marlow. Conrad addresses the question “why does man fear darkness” on a metaphysical level. Conrad brightens humanity’s fear of the unknown, bringing such a construct out of the darkness, with his intentional use of contrast between light and dark and unintentional employment of hyper-masculine tones.

Conrad’s novella tells the story of a captain, Marlow, who also functions as the novella’s narrator. At the commencement of the novella, Marlow sits upon a yawl and recounts the nature of his journey into the African Congo. Marlow informs his acquaintances that he once took a job with a trading company referred to simply by the “Company” and met a man named Mr. Kurtz. This encounter illuminates his mind to the true nature of the world and man....

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