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Similar Themes In Joseph Conrad´S Heart Of Darkness And T.S Eliot´S The Hollow Men

799 words - 4 pages

Although Joseph Conrad’s famous novella, Heart of Darkness, focuses frequently on the corruption of Imperialism and Imperialist colonies, Conrad also heavily voices truths about the desire for personal gain—the heart of darkness—and how this yearning often stems from another person’s ideas, one who also seeks to gain. Similarly, T.S. Eliot’s, “The Hollow Men,” highlights the spiritual and emotional bankruptcy present in the aftermath of World War II, the fear of having accomplished nothing, and the almost certain submission to what can be called “Conrad’s heart of darkness.” In light of their similarities, both the book and the poem exemplify a universal concept: Many people will fail to think for themselves, which leads to the struggle between peoples’ thoughts, desires, and hopes, and their “stuff[ing]” themselves with the ideas implanted by others., which in turn causes them to be nothing but empty shells—absent of thought and emotion.
When Marlow’s comes to the end of his story on the Nellie, after Kurtz’s death, he recounts the reasons why Kurtz ventured into Africa into the first place. In his visits with Kurtz’s “Intended”, he realizes that her elegance, her “guileless, profound, confident, and trustful” face, and her desire for Kurtz to make a name for himself had forced him into going to Africa to discover riches. As Marlow retells it, Kurtz never had a desire to journey to Africa in search of a job in the ivory trading business, but because his engagement with the “Intended” “had been disapproved by her people” because “he wasn’t rich enough or something” (70) demonstrates the fact that he had no direction of his own—he simply followed what the world led him to believe. In this case, society highlighted his weakness through his lack of money, and in this, he became stuffed by the opinions of those around him, the beliefs of those around him. Marlow illuminates this through his quote “[Kurtz] had given [Marlow] some reason to infer that it was [Kurtz’s] impatience of comparative poverty that drove him out there” (70). He is hollow because he lacks the ability to think for himself and have a reason for going to Africa. His sole reason to go to Africa is to gain riches, and that is not because of his own desire for wealth, but his obsession with the social...

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