Light and Dark Imagery in Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness
Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad is a novel about a man named Marlow and his journey into the depths of the African Congo. Marlow is in search of a man named Kurtz, an ivory trader. Though Marlow?s physical journey seems rather simple, it takes him further into his own heart and soul than into the Congo. The setting, symbols and characters each contain light and dark images, these images shape the central theme of the novel.
Conrad uses light and dark imagery to help create the setting for the story; light represents civilization while darkness suggests the uncivilized. The novel opens on the deck of a boat called the Nellie, as we are introduced to the passengers we are told how the sun is slowly fading, and soon darkness will engulf the area. This image is Conrad?s first use of light and darkness; he uses it to foreshadow the ultimate darkness Marlow will face. Conrad is warning his readers to be careful, lest they let down their guard and allow the darkness to come them. The other character in the book, Kurtz, is taken over by the evil embodied in the darkness. During Kurtz?s journey into the heart of darkness the isolation, darkness and power all made him lose control of himself and allowed the darkness to take over.
Every aspect in Conrad?s book has a deep meaning, which can then be linked to the light and dark imagery. In the novel there are two rivers, the Thames and the Congo. The Thames is described as light and peaceful while the Congo is given a more bleak description. Conrad?s intentions are very clear. The river Thames is the river...