The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is easy to discover. However, in other works (for example, Measure for Measure) the full significance of the title becomes apparent to the reader only gradually. Using Heart of Darkness, show how the significance of its title is developed through the author’s use of devices such as contrast, repetition, allusion, and point of view. Behind The Name Heart of DarknessThe heart of darkness in the title Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad is the heart of Africa, the heart of everything that is the rejection of established social principles and beliefs, corrupt, and barbaric, and perhaps the heart of man.
Conrad, ending the book like so: “The offing was barred by a black bank of clouds, and the tranquil water-way leading to the uttermost ends of the earth flowed somber under an overcast sky–seemed to lead into the heart of an immense darkness. ” (Conrad, 96)Concluded the novel, rapping up the whole idea. The title being the most important and suggestive of the book, it indicates the theme in both contexts: literal and symbolic. While the title of the novel is symbolic. Darkness is the leading theme of the novel.
Darkness overshadows almost all things within the novel. The uncivilized and wild attitude of the natives, intensifies the darkness of fear and horror within the Congo. The area is a place of great terror, never knowing when and where the natives on the shores could try to attack.
The unpredictability of the black natives is another example of the area being called a place of darkness by Marlow. Within the dark, you can never predict what you will find. Like, when the tribes actually end up attacking Marlow and the others on the boat, he first hears a deafening cry that terrifies him and all the white men on the boat: “It was unearthly, and the men were—No, they were not inhuman.
Well, you know, that was the worst of it—the suspicion of their not being inhuman. It would come slowly to one.They howled and leaped, and spun, and made horrid faces; but what thrilled you was just the thought of their humanity—like yours—the thought of your remote kinship with this wild and passionate uproar. Ugly. Yes, it was ugly enough; but if you were man enough you would admit to yourself that there was in you just the faintest trace of a response to the terrible frankness of that noise, a dim suspicion of there being a meaning in it which you—you so remote from the night of first ages—could comprehend. And why not? (Conrad, 44) Something sinister and destructive is waiting for a chance to attack, a treacherous appeal to the lurking death, in the hidden evil, to the profound darkness of the hearts of natives. Mr.
Kurtz is the essence of savagery and barbarism of the natives in the novel. Mr. Kurtz has identified himself with the natives; he takes participation in their customs, ceremonies, midnight dances, etc.
The darkness of Mr. Kurtz’s heart changes itself to fully open up to willingly work among the savages.His darkening passions gain an uncontrollable satisfaction there and he himself becomes a part of the darkness of Congo. As Marlow delves deeper in to the dark of the Congo, He tries to avoid and resist the craze inducing shadows: “I tried to break the spell–the heavy, mute spell of the wilderness–that seemed to draw him to its pitiless breast by the awakening of forgotten and brutal instincts, by the memory of gratified and monstrous passions.This alone, I was convinced, had driven him out to the edge of the forest, to the bush, towards the gleam of fires, the throb of drums, the drone of weird incantations; this alone had beguiled his unlawful soul beyond the bounds of permitted aspirations. ” (Conrad, 13) It is the literal darkness of Congo that has converted the civilized, enlightened man Mr. Kurtz used to be, into an ivory crazed devil.
The novel may be treated as a journey by Marlow into his own subconscious mind or into the subconscious mind of all mankind.Marlow’s journey into the heart of Africa is a figurative or psychological journey that relates to the study of humankind. This journey is a descent into the dark earth, followed by a return to light: “The brown current ran swiftly out of the heart of darkness, bearing us down towards the sea with twice the speed of our upward progress; and Kurtz’s life was running swiftly, too, ebbing, ebbing out of his heart into the sea of inexorable time.
. . . I saw the time approaching when I would be left alone of the party of ‘unsound method. ”(Conrad, 84) The novel is symbolically the story of an essentially lone journey involving a deep spiritual change in the explorer, a change of heart, so to speak. The novel certainly describes a physical journey or physical adventure. However, it is at the same time, a psychological and mystical journey.
The darkness then in the Congo can be identified as many things. It is the unknown, it is the subconscious, it is also a moral darkness, it is the evil that swallows up Mr.Kurtz and it is the spiritual emptiness in which he sees at the center of existence. Above all it is the mystery itself, the mysteriousness of man’s spiritual life. This being the whole reasoning for the title of the novel to be Heart of Darkness.