Heart Of Darkness By Joseph Conrad Essay
I am unsurprised that a novel designed to elicit confusion and mystery achieves just that in its concluding remarks. By providing the reader an ending filled with ambiguity and uncertainty, Joseph Conrad effectively concludes his novel Heart of Darkness in a way that makes it frustrating yet memorable. Specifically, Conrad’s ability to extend themes developed throughout the novel, connect his ending to broader historical trends and continue the employment of a unique narrative structure is what makes the ending of Heart of Darkness appropriate.
On a thematic level, Conrad’s concluding remarks prove successful in demonstrating the novel’s overarching idea of European ignorance. In the ending scene, the Intended, a female character who represents the members of European society uninvolved in imperialism, continues to believe that Kurtz was a great man, noting how “his goodness shone in every act” due to “his greatness” and “noble heart.” Her vision of Kurtz as a philosopher, artist, and genius represents European society’s idyllic vision of imperialism, one that society still holds at the end of the story. However, Marlow’s yarn shows the audience just how misguided this idea is. The reader discovers that Kurtz is not some hero, rather a degenerate, cruel, and violent racist. This contrast between Marlow’s reality and the Intended’s fantasy creates an ending that advances Conrad’s critique of European ignorance towards imperialism.