Heart Of Darkness Essay

865 words - 3 pages

     It is often said that when considering a work of great literature, the title of such work can be just as important as the context of the story. Authors time and again wait until they have completed the context of their work to give it a title as to make sure this chosen title is the best possible representation of their work. Stated equally as often is that the significance of some of these titles is easy to recognize while in other titles, the significance is only developed gradually. The latter is the case for Joseph Conrad’s Heart Of Darkness. The author implements the literary devices of contrast, repetition and point of view to successfully convey the meaning and symbolism of his title.
     At first read through the short book, one may perceive the “heart of darkness” to simply be the wilderness in the center of Africa into which Marlow is headed. This in not incorrect, however the meaning of the title is multi-faceted, moving and morphing into other parts of its meaning as the story moves on. Under further scrutiny, the reader will notice Conrad’s drastic use of contrast. The contrasts include that between light and dark in the grove of death, black and white of the people, ultimately between civilization and the uncivilized wilderness these men are there to colonize. A distinct barrier is set around this uncivilized are as some deep, dark, brooding place where all bad part of humanity can stir. From this, the reader can establish that a second meaning on the “heart of darkness” referred to in the title is that out of civilized society, man is believed to live in some hellish arena, in this immense darkness.
     Further showing this meaning as well as bringing in another is Conrad’s use of repetition in his book. The most noticeable repetition in the book is the use of the title or some close variation of it to describe certain places, events, and people. The use of such phrases when describing parts of the wilderness or those things in nature only reassured the previous meaning. The use of such phrases when referring to people, such as the cry of the natives and in certain references to Kurtz implies another, rather startling meaning: that the “heart of darkness” in not a part of the world, something someone can visit and touch and explain to other people; rather, this “heart of darkness” is something inside people. One may take this only to mean the savage people in the wilderness, surrounding Kurt’s Inner Station but...

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