Themes are the fundamental and often universal ideas explored in a literary work. The Hypocrisy of Imperialism Heart of Darkness explores the issues surrounding imperialism in complicated ways.
Chief among them are the education of a young man in search of the meaning of self and society in an ambiguous universe, the solitary and necessary reliance upon self, the oppositions of the values of civilization and savagery as well as their intersections, and the oppositions of appearance and reality and of innocence and experience replete with the tensions inherent in those eroding oppositions that blur at times into sameness.
In blending all of these themes into his narrative Conrad also molds them into his habitual and overarching theme of tale-telling, the communication of experience and a sense of reality, the ruminations of a narrator attempting to sort out reality so that his listeners may see it, and the power and imperfections of language as the instrument of thought.
This is a tale of many voyages. The voyage into the heart of an immense darkness is a voyage into the collective unconsciousness of the human race, a quest after the meaning of intelligent life in an alien and brutal universe. The voyage is also a descent into the underworld, not unlike the journeys in Virgil and Dante.
This voyage is also one of self-discovery as Charlie Marlow attempts, many years later, to continue to make sense of his experience and to communicate his self-exploration to his listeners on board the yawl Nellie.
Finally, there is the emotional voyage of one of Marlow's listeners, who is the The entire section is words.Literary analysis is a critical response to a literary text in the form of a critical essay or an oral commentary.
It includes a thorough interpretation of the work. Such analysis may be based from a variety of critical approaches or movements, e.g. archetypal criticism, cultural criticism, feminist.
These themes are present throughout Conrad’s stories, and in the Heart of Darkness he also makes heavy use of colors, primarily white and black, and references to light and dark, often intermingling the socially accepted view of each one respectively.
The ThemeTracker below shows where, and to what degree, the theme of Colonialism appears in each section of Heart of Darkness.
Click or tap on any chapter to read its Summary & Analysis. Click or tap on any chapter to read its Summary & Analysis. Further Study. Test your knowledge of Heart of Darkness with our quizzes and study questions, or go further with essays on the context and background and links to the best resources around the web.
Joseph Conrad arriving in New York on the SS Tuscania, Joseph Conrad’s heroes were often alone, and close to hostility and danger.
Sometimes, when Conrad’s imagination was at its most fertile and his command of English at its most precise, the danger came darkly from within the self. FAITH | LEARNING | COMMUNITY.
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