Unit 3 - Haubold 1 Max Haubold Unit 3 English 102 4/18/08...

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Haubold 1 Max Haubold Unit 3 English 102 4/18/08 Essay Topic 1: Variations on a Theme The title “Heart of Darkness” is not a whimsically granted name for the novel, nor is it based upon a sole idea or scene. Marlow’s journey through the Congo is filled with many metaphorically significant symbols of darkness, which accumulate to form what Joseph Conrad claims as the “Heart of Darkness”. To justify Conrad’s naming of the novel, a range of “darkness” references must be used, including each part of the book, and different ways this common theme presents itself over time. Differentiation of light and dark aspects of the novel cannot simply be grouped into easily labeled categories, and as such, supports Conrad’s theme that the line between dark and light is often blurred. Although the book is filled with references to darkness, and in contrast, many to light, Conrad’s intention was not to simply reiterate a theme of darkness, or the battle between good and evil. Each note of, or emphasis upon uncanny dark places, people, or actions, is a brick to build his powerful message. As such, the dissection of each instance would prove useless. To grasp the sheer magnitude of the loom that is darkness, the correlation between sets of these hints will provide a more meaningful analysis of Conrad’s purpose. To do this, it is important to see where evidence of his grand theme is first shown. Almost immediately the author begins to build his aimed message. The first references to the inner battle between light and dark are within the opening four pages. The main character, even before his journey’s narration, declares his impression of the Thames river as
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Haubold 2 “one of the dark places on earth” (Conrad 4). Merely calling things dark, however, would not create a novel, which by definition is complex and thought invoking. Paired with this first declaration is one regarding the contender, light. “Light came out of this river since-you say Knights? Yes; but it is like a running blaze on
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Unit 3 - Haubold 1 Max Haubold Unit 3 English 102 4/18/08...

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