Paper on Heart of - Lindsay Lastinger Ms Carver Heart of Darkness Prompt 3 Symbolism in Heart of Darkness Heart of Darkness written by Joseph

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Lindsay Lastinger Ms. Carver Heart of Darkness Prompt 3 September 10, 2010 Symbolism in Heart of Darkness Heart of Darkness , written by Joseph Conrad, is a novel primarily written to depict the effects of the European’s colonization of Africa during the late 1800’s. Although readers of the novel are essentially unsure of Conrad’s specific views on the European’s colonization of Africa, they are quite certain that he implements symbolism throughout the novel in order to illustrate major themes and ideas. Symbols such as the Congo River, ivory, Kurtz’s painting, women, and even the title of the novel itself represent such themes as death, destruction, idealism, the hypocrisy of imperialism, the light of civilization, and the darkness of the heart of Africa versus the darkness of the hearts of the Europeans. Indeed, symbolism is so prevalent throughout Conrad’s work that the novel as a whole seems to reflect a sense of symbolic representations versus realistic occurrences. As already mentioned, Conrad implements symbolism countless times throughout Heart of Darkness . Many times, the symbolism that he uses is in direct correlation with specific aspects of the novel’s setting. Such symbols as the Congo River, ivory, and Kurtz’s painting are all major, as well as minor aspects of the novel’s setting. The Congo River is one of the chief symbols in the novel, as it represents the ability of the long and merciless river to consume all of whom travel upon it—especially the white, European pilgrims. Conrad describes the river as, “… a mighty big river, that you could see on the map, resembling an immense snake uncoiled…” (Conrad 71). The river is compared to an uncoiled snake because of its constant danger and ability to physically and mentally consume nearly all of the white Europeans that it meets.
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This document was uploaded on 10/30/2011.

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Paper on Heart of - Lindsay Lastinger Ms Carver Heart of Darkness Prompt 3 Symbolism in Heart of Darkness Heart of Darkness written by Joseph

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