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    Symbolism In Heart Of Darkness Essay

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    Intro (context/ thesis):

    – this passage is taken from the end portion of part one of Joseph Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness”

    – in it, Marlow anticipates the arrival of the rivets, but instead the Eldorado Explorers who are intent on exploiting the land, appear

    – through the use of absurdity, modifiers, extensive imagery, and juxtaposition, nature and the serene land is contrasted with the disordered, chaotic environment created by the colonizers

    – this portrays to the readers the negative impact which the colonizer have towards the land


    -occurs pertaining to the colonizers to emphasize the disordered atmosphere they create

    – “i put a finger…tried a jig” portrays a sense of disruption due to the loss of seriousness in the situation where Marlow is still waiting for the delayed rivets

    – the dark figure vanished, and then the doorway itself vanished: depicts loss of sanity, disorder in the mind

    – donkey carrying a white man in new clothes and tan shoes – an annomalie, doesn’t seem to fit the environment/ setting around him; the passage seems to be as disordered as nature is due to the presence of the colonizers

    Modifiers (adjectives, verbs, adverbs, nouns):

    To describe the colonizers:

    – “frightful clatter”, “Stamping of our feet” (represents a sense of noise, chaos)

    – “dark figure”, “obscured” depicts a sense of unclarity, and disorder once again

    – “invasion”, quarrelsome”, “footsore” further supports the idea of disruption

    “reckless”, “greed”, “cruel” portray their heartless actions, they simply “tear the treasure out of the bowels of the land”; have no sympathy, or guilt for their actions it seems: “no moral purpose” and they contribute to disorder within the land

    To describe nature:

    – “virgin forest” (young, gives the land a sense of innocence)

    – “silence”, motionless, soundless life creates a calming serene tone

    – “exuberant” -nature depicted through a positive outlook

    Nature Imagery:

    – disruption of the forest in the presence of colonizers is shown through the auditory imagery of the “thundering roll” which echoes through the forest

    – “a rolling wave of plants” and “it moved not” creates a sense of ambivalence, nature is mighty and also has the ability to cause disorder “to sweep every little man of us out of his little existence”, however it remains calm

    – “great wall of vegetation” nature is depicted as a form of defence against the colonizers and the chaos


    – “entangled mass of trunks, branches, leaves..” although there is slight disorder present in nature as well, it is one which is reversible, in other words, can be untangled

    – “inextricable” which contradicts “entangled” (used to describe nature) and it may imply that the impacts of the colonizers creates disorder, and a chaotic environment which is however irreversible

    – juxtaposition on “rioting invasion of soundless life” as rioting is contrasted with soundless and this contrasts the actual rioting and chaotic invasions which occur between the colonizers to the soundless, peaceful invasion of nature


    -this passage gives readers the distinction between the tranquil nature of the untouched land, with the hectic, disorderly environment enveloping the colonizers

    – as a result it reflects a mood of wonder and awe towards the land, juxtaposed with disgust and negativity towards the injustice of colonialization

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