Essay about Dual Narration in Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness

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Dual Narration in Heart of Darkness

Joseph Conrads novella Heart of Darkness not only dwells on interesting and thought provoking issues that relate to society today, it is also told in an interesting manner in the form of a "story within a story". This serves not only to show increased levels of mental development from all parties involved, that is Marlow, the frame narrator and the reader - but distances Conrad from the text in such a way that he can promote revolutionary issues without necessarilty being attached to them. The character of Marlow does just this - he is far from neutral and is employed by Conrad to position the reader by offering a double-dose of psychological development from Marlow, and the framed narrator.
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Marlow, in fact also acknoledges this too when he says, "and this also...has been one of the dark places of the earth." Clearly, therefore, the position of these two narrators within the text, at this point upon their respective journeys enables the reader to consider this reading of the text - that in fact such a darkness can be revealed with little effort , even at the supposed heart of civilisation, that is Britain.

Furthermore - this darkness within European culture is evident with both the unnamed city of Brussels and the character of Kurtz. Both representations of darkness are viewed in such a way by Marlow, that the Audience is once again subjected to Conrads dismissal of seemingly futile colonialist attitudes. The "immense double doors", and the "house in the city of the dead" that Marlow visits in his job application show the true nature of this Victorian work ethic associated with material progress. Futhermore mention of the "white supultchre" adheres to this theme. From Mathew 23:27-28, "for ye are like unto white supulches - that indeed appear beautiful artwork; but within are filled of dead mens bones". Clearly Conrad tries to show that the fabric of European civilisation is dead, and that efforts by the "knights" of colonialism are futile. This aspect is also revealed by Marlow,

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