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    Symbolism in “Heart of Darkness” by Joseph Conrad Essay

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    Symbolism is an effectual tool used by writers to build intending beyond the boundaries of actual apprehension. It is the procedure by which thoughts are expressed through the usage of imagination that conveys intending beyond its ain animalism. In the novella ¬Heart of Darkness. Joseph Conrad uses symbolism to interrogate thoughts and judgements of the imperialist political orientation. Imperialism argues that colonisation benefits both the colonized and the imperium yet it looks to pardon its violent methods that ironically. withstand its rules. In Heart of Darkness ocular imagination and symbolic character building such as. the Whited Sepulcher. the character of the comptroller. the Thames and Congo rivers. Kurt’s picture and the map of Africa are used to dispute the pretensions of the imperialist political orientation and expose the spread between its ideals and its pattern. Symbols hence become tools to interrogate full constructs.

    Marlow’s relation of geting. “In a metropolis that ever makes me believe of a whited burial chamber. ” within the context of a colonialist reading challenges the premises that surround the civilised metropoliss of the universe. The image of a burial chamber is one of decease and parturiency withstanding the outlook of a peaceable and harmonious metropolis. The properties of decease symbolize the inhumaneness of the imperium and. “The gay dance of decease and trade. ” whilst the image of confinement high spots the stiff societal outlooks that enable and promote both inhuman treatment and dehumanisation under Belgian regulation. Under a scriptural reading the book of Mathew describes “whited sepulchers” as something beautiful on the outside but incorporating horrors within. dead organic structures. Through this spiritual symbolism Conrad interrogates that the. “redeeming thought. ” the “philanthropic pretension. ” that Imperialism draws its very foundations from is simply a screen for. the “horror. ” that continues behind the dorsums of the naif people.

    The character of the comptroller is a symbolic representation of the attitudes and values of the imperialist conquering. He is a hardhearted character. the prototype of painstaking bureaucratism whose lone concern is net income. His dedication to wealth and indifference to agony is expressed in his dry comment. “When one has got to do right entries. one comes to detest those barbarians – detest them to decease. ” The dry word picture of the comptroller depicting his immaculate visual aspect as. “achievements of character. ” portrays imperialism’s devotedness to efficiency based on its complete deficiency of humanity. In fact the arrant neglects for the distorted organic structures in the grove of decease as he steps out to. “get a breath of fresh air. ” call into inquiry the full human-centered motive. By juxtaposing the symbolic representation of the flawless comptroller with the horror and upset of the Congo Conrad depicts the upseting secrets of the colonialist venture that defy its charitable forepart.

    Heart of Darkness strongly juxtaposes the symbolic word picture of two different rivers. the Thames and the Congo. taking the reader to oppugn the ideological theory behind Imperialism. The Thames River is portrayed in a heroic visible radiation by the nameless storyteller. “What illustriousness had non floated on the wane of that great river into the enigma of an unknown Earth! ” The Narrative voice of this point of position constructs the thought that Europe is the centre of the civilised universe making out to the unknown Earth. However. Marlow’s remembering that this land besides “has been one of the dark topographic points of the Earth. ” challenges this thought. This point of position brings the satirical statement that the “sand-banks. fens. woods. savages” of the Thames were one time feared by the all powerful Romans. In comparing the Roman conquering of England with the Imperialist. “Conquest of the Earth. ” Marlow’s symbolic apposition of the two rivers and their several histories undermines the colonial discourse and disrupt the narrow viewed patriotism that defines the colonialist thought.

    The symbolic image of the map of Africa disrupts the conventional inspiration behind the colonialist venture and challenges its right to. “robbery with force. ” In the beginning of the novelette the reader sees Marlow’s naif passion for the barbarian ranges of the Earth yet his description of the map of Africa contradicts colonial belief. “It was non a clean infinite anymore…it had become a topographic point of darkness. ” Conrad’s dry reversal of the binary resistance of black and white imagination interrogates that white work forces have turned Africa into a topographic point of darkness.

    Kurtz’s puzzling picture is another symbolic tool interrogating the naivete of the colonialist venture. The image of a blindfolded adult female transporting a lighted torch that obscures her face carries three symbolic thoughts all drenched in sarcasm. The narrative voice of the fresh dramatis personaes adult females as naïve and in a “beautiful universe of their ain. ” yet the adult female in the picture symbolically represents Europe. This interrogates that like the adult female they have suppressed ; the colonialist venture is itself. naif and stupid. The torch she carries is “The flicker from the sacred fire. ” a symbol of European imposts being forced upon the Africans. Yet the fact that she is blindfolded whilst transporting an instrument of light symbolizes the thought that Imperialism is blind to the devastation it causes. The image of the sacred fire brings an allusion to the Greek myth of Prometheus. who stole fire from the Gods. Thus the text suggest the imperium is a metaphorical God charged with the undertaking of conveying good to the universe when ironically they stole from the lands they swore to educate.

    In decision. Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness uses symbols to interrogate abstract thoughts and constructs. The symbolic imagination and word picture in the novelette conveys significance that undercuts the motivations of the imperialist political orientation and exposes the dark holes in its ethical motives. The symbolic image of the whited burial chamber challenges the premises of a civilised society projecting the metropolis of Marlow’s going as a topographic point of beautiful outsides hiding undeniable horrors.

    The word picture of the comptroller as a symbolic representation of the greedy and ego obsessed Imperialist motion challenges its philanthropic pretensions whilst the apposition of the barbarous Belgian conquering of The Congo with the Roman conquering of England destabilizes the bubble of naïve patriotism that surrounds the colonialist venture. Finally the symbolic imagination of the map of Africa. Kurt’s picture and the fabulous allusion to the sacred fire place the reader to see the built-in defects of a mission blind to the effects of its actions. Joseph Conrad uses symbolism to make complex significance beyond the actual boundaries of the symbols themselves. Thus the text challenges the bureaucratism and lip service that Imperialism is defined upon.

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