FINAL_EXAM_HIST_104

FINAL_EXAM_HIST_104 - FINAL EXAM HIST-104 Europe and its...

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FINAL EXAM HIST-104 – Europe and its Influence since 1750 ALEXANDER MUHR SID#: 4890814915
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SECTION I. [ C ] In Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness there are two female characters that are integral to the overall story. The first, Kurtz’s mistress, is an indigenous African woman who is mysterious and even dangerous. The second important woman of the story is Kurtz’s fiancé who is more of the innocent type and mourning the death of her loved one. Both of these women also are representing the different sides of imperialism, which Conrad used extensively in his writing. The mysterious African woman has to be one of the most representative characters of indigenous people in all of literature. When she is described in Heart of Darkness , she practically takes over the souls of the people she is encountering. In the novel she is introduced as “a wild and gorgeous apparition of a woman,” (Conrad 136). There is no question throughout the book that Conrad is an opponent of imperialism with his descriptions of how people are changed from conquering others. Here he is actually creating splendor of the native people with a figure such as this woman. Even though there is a certain mystery, by creating a character that is majestically represented, Conrad tries to make the Europeans out as bad because they are destroying culturally defined people. There is also the inherent symbolism of dark versus light throughout the whole novel. The mistress is literally dark, making her a kind of secret from what the “pure” fiancé. Conrad is also saying that this black mistress, however majestic she is, is still a savage compared to the Europeans. This type of contrast also bolsters his argument against imperialism. Because Kurtz has changed so much from being sent to Africa, he all of a sudden is enthralled by a different and more “savage” race and skin color.
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Kurtz’s fiancé is obviously portrayed as more of the “pure” and clean side of the spectrum for women. Conrad makes us feel that the horrible things that happened in the “darkness” cannot compromise her innocence. His commentary is almost making fun of the European imperialism by saying that they are doing all of their horrible things in their colonies, but cannot handle the consequences. Her literal description is, “only her forehead, smooth and white, remained illumined by the inextinguishable light of belief and love,” (Conrad 154). What Conrad is describing here is that she is so full of purity and faith that it would be wrong to let her know of “The horror!” In the end Conrad actually is making comparisons and creating similarities between both women, however different they are. The last time we see the mistress is when she is leading an “army” after the boat and she practically killed Kurtz. On the other hand, when Marlow is talking to the fiancé, we are introduced to a desperate and almost “savage” white European. Due to what has happened to her and all the mourning
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FINAL_EXAM_HIST_104 - FINAL EXAM HIST-104 Europe and its...

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