Heart Of Darkness

Heart of Darkness was written by Joseph Conrad and published in 1899. It is regarded as a significant and crucial work of writing that has influenced much of English literature. The novella takes place in 19th Century western Africa, mainly in the European colonized Congo. The story focuses on two characters by the name of Marlow and Kurtz. Marlow is the captain of a steamship in Africa and is sent on a mission to find Kurtz, who is said to be in an insane state of mind. 

Marlow soon finds out more of Kurtz from the other soldiers describing his various interests and his capacity for high intellect. Marlow and his crew make their way up the difficult river, and are ambushed by an African tribe which happens to be where Kurtz is staying with the natives on his own will. His remaining crew take the unstable Kurtz to the ship to take him back, and both share a moment. Kurtz gives Marlow a picture of a beautiful woman who is assumed to be Kurtz's love interest, and then a couple days after Kurtz dies, muttering his last words, "the horror, the horror."

Later on, Marlow returns to his home city and finds Kurtz's love interest and tells her the story of his death. He tells her that Kurtz's last words was her name, when in reality his last words were nothing of the sort. The story then ends depicting the scene of the Thames. 

Interestingly enough, the ending of the book is different than of the film, with more of an open-ended question left at the end, and the Marlow representing character of Captain Willard killing off Colonel Kurtz instead of Kurtz dying on his own. The use of darkness is an important concept throughout the book for it is not just merely "darkness" in itself that the entire novella encompasses on, but the heart of darkness. This allows the reader to question to what lengths the definition of darkness really implies in all the characters. The book provides a bit more closure for the reader, while the film has more remaining questions as to the morality of man, and the lengths taken in order to test it. 

Joseph Conrad

A Polish born British author (whose original name is Jozef Teodor Konrad Korzeniowski), Conrad influenced much of English literature and exposed the western world to tragedy and romanticism in an unconventional way of storytelling. He has wrote other notable works such as The Nigger of the Narcissus, Lord Jim, and The Secret AgentHeart of Darkness was his own personal narrative that can be reflected in the character Marlow, displaying much of his own personal experiences in the Congo in the heat of war and European Colonization. 

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