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Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness

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Many atrocities and monstrosities occur in this world on a daily basis. Many of these acts go unnoticed or unreported to the rest of the world. One such instance that went unreported to the rest of the world for a very long time is the exploitation and imperialism of the Congo in Africa. Many European rulers exclaimed at the opportunity to grab a portion of the riches made by exploiting the resources of the Congo. Along with this, many innocent civilians were killed and taken advantage of.

The innocent Congo was raped of its vast resources.

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In Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, the main character Marlow goes on a trip up the Congo River and is gravely effected by his encounters on this trip in a very negative way. In the excerpt from his novel, Conrad uses devices such as details, syntax, and diction to convey the immense physical and emotional effects the drowning trip had on the narrator. In the selection, Conrad employs the use of precise diction in order to portray the vast and unexplainable effects that the trip had on him.

The excerpt starts off with Conrad describing the river and the air that surrounds it. He describes the air as being “warm, thick, heavy, sluggish. ” These words all have a very slow and monotonous tone. Conrad uses these words on purpose in order to mirror the very dull and depressing mood that the Congo entails and also that the Congo makes the narrator feel. His choice of words shows that his emotions directly relates to the topography of his surroundings. Though he is describing the air, he is also describing the way he feels.

He uses diction to portray the physical effects the Congo has on him. Later on in the selection, Conrad makes use of his word choices to help him describe the present stillness that always fills the Congo. He explains that the stillness is not peaceful but instead “the stillness of an implacable force brooding over an inscrutable intention. ” In this sentence, Conrad uses words such as “implacable,” “brooding,” and “inscrutable” to convey the effects the Congo has on him. These words are very precise and almost contemplative but with a menacing and ominous undertone.

He uses the words to show how precisely and strongly Marlow feels about the Congo and how immense the effects are on him. Conrad also uses syntax to show readers the grave effects his trip to the Congo has had on him. In the beginning of the excerpt, Conrad uses very short and compact sentences to describe the stickiness and sluggishness of the Congo. He then goes on to use very long sentences with much information in them to describe the complexity of the Congo. This change in syntax adds a rhythm change to the excerpt that helps in showing readers the narrator’s mixed emotions about the Congo.

The shorter sentences show his fear of the Congo while the longer sentences show his intrigue and wonder about his surroundings of the Congo. This varied sentence structure that Conrad uses is effective in showing readers how the Congo has really affected him. He is unable to fully process and convey his thoughts to readers because of the monstrosities he has seen in the Congo. The varied syntax adds to the unfamiliar aspect of the Congo to Marlow and shows how lost he is in the land of the unknown.

In the middle of the selection, Conrad explains how lost he is in the Congo and how he is “…cut off forever from everything you had known once – somewhere – far away – in another existence perhaps. ” Conrad uses hyphens in order to chop up his sentence and add slowness to the reading of it. This adds a very ominous and almost meditative undertone to it that shows the long-lasting effects the Congo has had on Marlow. It shows how he is really thinking about his experiences and he cannot get over his trip to the Congo.

To express the same idea of Marlow’s contemplative yet brooding mannerisms in the Congo, Conrad uses very descriptive and exact details. In the excerpt, Conrad beautifully illustrates the surroundings of the Congo River when he explains, “On silvery sandbanks hippos and alligators sunned themselves side by side. The broadening waters flowed through a mob of wooed islands…” He goes on to describe the rest of his trip in such thorough details. Conrad’s incorporation of these so precise details in his book shows how he remembers every little detail about hiss trip.

This shows the lasting effects the trip had on the narrator by portraying that long after the trip, it still proved to have an imprinted memory forever engraved in him. Conrad’s detailed passage from Heart of Darkness really stands out because it so beautifully describes the narrator’s trip in a way that leaves readers with a chill, feeling as if they are in the Congo. Conrad uses many devices to show his utter isolation, the true darkness of the Congo, and its lasting effects on the narrator. Conrad uses details, diction, and varied syntax to achieve these accurate depictions of his trip.

Cite this Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness

Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. (2016, Oct 14). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/joseph-conrads-heart-of-darkness/

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