Isolation Comparison Between Heart Of Darkness And Frankenstein

1882 words - 8 pages

Humans are naturally social and interactive. Occasionally, a person will want or need to be away from others, which are very natural (Good Therapy Organization). However, prolonged isolation is not such a good thing, in fact, it can be downright harmful. In fact, isolation for extended periods of time can be considered a risk factor. Isolation can be categorized with smoking and obesity in terms of how damaging it is to the human body, as reported by an article written about how seclusion affects the mind and body (Edmonds). Unfortunately, there are a great number of ways to isolate a person. The most obvious way would be to set that person aside from everyone else. In other words, this manner of isolation is to physically distance that person from everyone else. Another way to isolate somebody would be to isolate that person mentally. This person can feel a sense of isolation between him and his peers even if he is standing amongst them. If everyone else thinks and acts in a much different way, then he will feel different, unwanted, rejected and isolated from the group (Psych Alive Organization). In times of prolonged isolation, it is possible for a person to acquire knowledge and learn about themselves and other people. However, the results can be deadly. Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, both portray the downfall of man as he acquires knowledge that resulted from being in extended isolation.
Isolation from mankind and not being bound to the limits of society, such as in Heart of Darkness, can alter the human psyche and drive a person to the brink of insanity or death as a result of the acquisition of knowledge. Throughout the novella, Marlow is in constant search of Kurtz, who Marlow believes to be a wonderful prodigy and a remarkable person, as told by many people of the Company. As Marlow delves deeper into the heart of the jungle, he learns more about Captain Kurtz’s state of mind. Once Marlow reads the brochure pamphlet that Kurtz wrote, he recognizes his writing, “[vibrated] with eloquence,” but he also seemed rather “high strung” (127). In fact, Kurtz believed it necessary to “exterminate all the brutes,” which shows that he himself caved in to his inner savagery as a result of his rather extreme word choice (128). This changed portrayal of Kurtz is a result of isolation from human society. Without the confinements of society or the white man, Kurtz can do most whatever he pleases. Kurtz is the embodiment of Europe itself, with “his mother [being] half-English and father being half-French” and “all of Europe contributed to the making of Kurtz,” (127). Because of this, being in Africa is not Kurtz’s natural state of being. Since all of Europe contributed to Kurtz’s accomplishments and being the prodigy that he is, he cannot rely on Europe anymore for aid since he is in Africa. In the depths of the Congo with no one able to guide and aid him, he learns a great deal about mankind. That is evident as he...

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