Heart of Darkness-the Earth Seemed Unearthly. Essay

1992 Words Oct 12th, 2010 8 Pages
Heart of Darkness
Joseph Conrad

“The earth seemed unearthly. We are accustomed to look upon the shackled form of a conquered monster, but there – there you could look at a thing monstrous and free. It was unearthly, and the men were…No, they were not inhuman. Well, you know, that was the worst of it – this suspicion of their not being inhuman…but what thrilled you was just the thought of your remote kinship with this wild and passionate uproar”. Extract from “Heart of Darkness”, Joseph Conrad (Chapter 2, page 32).

In the above extract from Conrad’s book, Marlow states that the Africans are indeed human. This is an interesting statement coming from a man employed by the Company, who are doing everything possible to exploit and even
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The word reconcile means “to make compatible; to make contentedly submissive to something disagreeable or unwelcome” – The Concise Oxford Dictionary,1990.
Yet Marlow, I think, does very little to reconcile the West with Africa. Although he often displays feelings of horror and disgust at the behaviour of the Europeans around him, towards the Africans, he does very little to change things. Instead he seems more concerned with keeping himself sane, as though he knows he will be home soon, and therefore he does not have to worry. Even so, he does sometimes, show benevolence to others, such as when he gives the dying man a biscuit, but again, no real effort is made to help anyone.

When he finally leaves the Central Station, on a supposed mercy mission to save Kurtz (a central figure in the story and a man of great importance), there are several instances where his reaction to a situation can be seen as ambivalent.
The Africans they meet along the way break into greeting on the banks of the river. Marlow says “they howled and leaped and spun and made horrid faces” (Chapter 2, page 32).

He goes on to say “Ugly. Yes, it was ugly enough; but if you were man enough you would admit to yourself that there was in you just the faintest trace of a response to the terrible frankness of that noise” (Chapter 2, page 32). I think he discovers within himself a feeling of ‘savagery’, something within himself that makes him want to let go. He values

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