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The Service Of The River And Its Contribution To Death

918 words - 4 pages

Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness critiques the cause for expeditions and its effects on the land they voyage too. Kurtz accounts of expedition shows ironic details of patriotic intentions of creating goodness and prosperity in a country, but leaving it in disaster and chaos. However, in Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, Kurtz uses cluster images to describe the river and its services in numerous expeditions, yet masquing the truth of death as effects to the performance of change by the water and ship’s patriotic duty through the changes in the atmosphere, alluding of ships and their expeditions, and the anarchic depiction of travellers and their reasons for travelling.
The changes in atmosphere from tranquility to uproar and chaos, creates this uneasiness and striking opposite in the details of the river. Kurtz shows this atmospheric change when he says, “… in its curved and imperceptible fall, the sun sank low, and from glowing white changed to a dull red without rays and heat,” (Conrad 104). The imagery of the sun setting creates this ideal calm and tranquil feeling, yet he juxtaposes this by saying, “… to go out suddenly, stricken to death by the touch of that gloom brooding over a crowd of men.” (104). Kurtz changes the atmosphere and makes the reader feel eerie, dreadful and struck with fear. With this said, the atmospheric change in this line critiques the reasons for these nationalistic expeditions on the river in anticipating death and destruction during these expeditions through the allusions of ships and their reason for sailing.
Also, Kurtz alludes to ships and their expeditions as a way to foreshadow the truth of their nationalistic duty in the Congo. Kurtz narrates to the reader that the river’s service was only to transport “all men of whom the nation is proud,” (Conrad 104). Hence, the idea of voyaging to another country for good seems skeptical as history foretells. Kurtz analyses the different ships and their expeditions when he says, “ from Sir Francis Drake to Sir John Franklin…Golden Hind…Erebus and Terror… returned” (104). The name of the captains portrays their patriotic duty through the indication of “Sir” (104). They were all knights, knighted by the Queen; so their expeditions were for the country and for the goodness of their country and not for the country they were voyaging to.
Likewise, the names of the ships and their historical backgrounds express as patriotic vessels for change. This is seen when Kurtz says, “all the ships whose names are like jewels flash-ing in the night time, from the Golden Hind returning with her round flanks full of treasure, to be visited by the Queen’s Highness and thus pass out of the gigantic tale, to the Erebus and Terror, bound on other conquests- and that never returned” (Conrad 104). The “Golden Hind” (104) speaks of the idea of patriotism and its contribution to its nation’s accomplishments. The...

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