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Heart OF Darkness


According to Heart of Darkness, man cannot control his own destiny. ... However, it was only filled with Darkness. ... In Heart of Darkness, the treatment of ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Heart OF Darkness

Heart OF Darkness
The Author
  • Joseph Conrad
  • Born in 1857 in Poland
  • Both parents were dead by his 12th birthday
  • Spent youth as a merchant seaman
  • 1898 and 1899 wrote Heart of Darkness
  • This was after his journey into the Congo

  • Is man a free agent or is he subject to forces
    beyond his control?
  • According to Heart of Darkness, man cannot
    control his own destiny. Fate and the
    surrounding environment dominate and change a
    person. This is exemplified by the darkening
    of Marlows thoughts as he spends more time away
    from civilization. He considers killing Kurtz at
    one point and ends up despising civilized
    people by the end of the book. He is forever
    changed by his experiences.

More Themes
  • Every soul has its dark truth and its light truth.

  • Life Inevitably finds out who you truly are by
    placing one in a situation which most severely
    tests his values.
  • Marlow is placed and tested by his journey in
    the Congo. He finds himself in the expedition
    and learns that he is not a truly good person.
    The environment causes Marlow to compromise with
    his values.

Many More Themes
  • When Societys restraints are removed, and one is
    forced to rely upon ones own emotional and
    spiritual resources, a person is often times
    proven to be hollow at the core.

Still Themes
  • The greatest sin that a man can commit is his
    Inhumanity to man.
  • The Africans were treated as a subservient race
    of people by the British. They were actually
    referred to as a subspecies of the white man.
    They were brutalized and forced into slavery for
    many years.

Still Yet, Themes
  • Is there anything in which to believe?
  • According to the story in Heart of Darkness, the
    only thing that can be believed is that people
    are capable of any atrocity. Their religious
    beliefs and basic goodness are just a
    by-product of societys rules and laws that have
    conditioned them. When they are removed, as in
    Marlows case, so are any beliefs that one might

  • Put a man into isolation and his true nature will
    be revealed.

  • Grass covers up mens mistakes and
    accomplishments and enhances the idea that no
    matter how great or good or evil a mans deeds
    are they are transitory.

  • Ivory
  • Symbolizes the sick and putrid reason that the
    white man has lost all trappings of civilization.

  • Kurtz Painting
  • The painting of the blindfolded woman holding the
    torch out into the darkness could represent one
    of two things.
  • Kurtz intended and the truth about the darkness
  • Or Europeans stumbling into africa
  • Or in our interpretation, it could represent
    mans blindness to himself

  • Jungle
  • The jungle represents two things
  • Truth and Reality
  • And
  • The psyche and the twisted torturous and tangled
    route a man must take for self-enlightenment.

  • Pairings of twins
  • Through juxtaposition, conrad attempts in a
    process of misdirection to convey subtle meanings.

  • Whiteness
  • In the map when Marlow was being interviewed by
    the company, the part he was going to was blank
    and white.
  • He thought this meant it was full of something,
    and secret.
  • However, it was only filled with Darkness.
  • White mean the opposite and Darkness may be the
    real, the pure part.

  • is present throughout the novel as a symbol of
    desolation and isolation.
  • It is present in the beginning of the book in
    describing the estuary the boat sits in.
  • Marlow tells his story in darkness.
  • The lady in the painting holds a light in the

Literary Terms
  • Diction
  • The use of words in written or oral discourse.
  • Conrad uses Marlow as a means of both.
  • He writes as Marlow, and makes the reader feel as
    if the story is being told instead or read.

Literary Terms
  • Point of View
  • Conrad is a master of using Marlows point of
    view as storyteller to lead the reader down the
    dark journey into his soul.
  • He uses the point of view to confuse the reader
    and make one pay attention to the story.
  • By using Marlows point of view, Conrad also
    shows the psychological changes that take place
    during the expedition.

Literary Terms
  • Pathos-
  • The quality in literature which stimulates pity,
    tenderness, or sorrow in the reader or viewer.
    Implies helpless and unmerited suffering.
  • In Heart of Darkness, the treatment of the blacks
    by the British is discussed.
  • They are used for slave labor and are fed little
    and when they cannot work anymore they crawl off
    and die.

Literary Terms
  • Motif
  • Is a simple element which reoccurs.
  • In Heart of Darkness, there are several motifs.
  • The baseness of the English.
  • How the English are the true savages.
  • Constant travel.
  • Darkness and Light.
  • Searching.

Literary Terms
  • Primitivism
  • The doctrine that primitive man, because he have
    remained closer to Nature and had been less
    subject to the corrupt influences of society, is
    nobler and more nearly perfect than civilized

Literary Terms
  • Personification
  • Conrad often referred to the Jungle on either
    side of the river as a beast that breathed and

Narrative Techniques
  • Conrad uses Marlow as a master of indirection.
    Much is left out of the story on purpose so that
    the reader must decide for himself what has
    occurred. The timeline is also distorted by this
    misdirection. Future and past become intertwined
    and the trip seems to take years instead of

Narrative Techniques
  • Foreshadowing
  • Perhaps the best example of this is when Marlow
    is examined by the Doctor, who alludes to the
    changes in individuals that have been out in
    the Congo.
  • After Marlow visited his aunt he also had a
    startled pause at going on to Africa. He was
    very wary of this because, being a seaman, he
    left his temporary land home all the time.
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