The Importance Of Humanity In Joseph Conrad's Heart Of Darkness

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In Heart of Darkness, by Joseph Conrad, the entire point of the novel is about exploring one’s inner truth and facing the darkness that is inside every human. In this sense, Conrad has a more focused attention on the nature of man. In Margaret Atwood’s novel, Oryx and Crake, though the plot focuses on Snowman, and the events that led up to the near extinction of humanity, she uses the characters as symbols to represent the many different facets of man.

In Heart of Darkness, at the beginning of Marlow’s long yarn, Marlow mentions that humanity has a “fascination of the abomination” (Conrad 69) and that this has driven humanity to manage to create order out of chaos. This characteristic is what allowed the Romans to become civilized, and what
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The part of human nature is conveyed through the European’s constant battle with nature. For example, though the French warship that Marlow’s ship had passed was “incomprehensible, firing into a continent” (79), it did almost no damage to the jungle. “... a little white smoke would disappear, a tiny projectile would give a feeble screech-- and nothing happened” (79). Even though the French viewed themselves as being superior and large, in comparison to the jungle, they were but a small nuisance. Marlow even comments on the Europeans inability to see their true insignificance as being a bit insane. Since the Europeans are so used to being powerful, they do not grasp that they can not defeat the wilderness. This is also conveyed when Marlow passes a boiler that is rusting and being overtaken by the vegetation around it. This is the ultimate symbol of this aspect of human nature. Even technology, mankind’s greatest achievement, is no match to the …show more content…
For example, even though multiple people (the white-haired secretary and the clerk and even the doctor) implied/outright said that working in the Congo was madness, Marlow pays no heed. And most importantly, even though Fresleven, his predecessor, who was the “gentlest, quietest creature that ever walked on two legs” (72) ended up going insane and getting himself killed over a small squabble, Marlow still decides that the best plan of action for his life is to travel to the Congo. Marlow’s inability to recognize his mistake before making it resulted in him repeating history: he goes mad after all. In a more “meta” perspective of this aspect of human nature, the act of writing an entire book about how finding the ultimate “truth” is not as great as it seems to be is helping to repeat past mistakes. By exposing them to the idea of an inner truth, Conrad is pulling the reader out of ignorance and forcing them to at least accept that there is an inner truth, whether the reader decides to act upon this newfound knowledge is up to them. However, by introducing the reader to such a concept, Conrad is giving leeway for the reader to make the same mistakes that Marlow has

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