acts also as my final review, while you can find the first level inquiry I had done
for my WEM self-project here
. All in all I did not enjoy this novella;
after first reading I did not completely understand what’s in it. I had an idea
about how the whites maltreated the blacks, and how Kurtz had become savage,
but the rest was still in the mist. I had had to browse some analysis, then
everything started to make sense. It’s about colonialism and civilization. So I
tried to have a second read with the help from Sparknotes No-Fear, and this
time I got a better idea. However, despite of the moral value, I still can’t
say that this novella is enjoyable. Conrad’s narrative was rather boring, and his
effort to not mentioning specific attributes (Belgium, Congo) made it more difficult
to comprehend. I gave three stars for Heart of Darkness. And these are my
analysis for the second and third level inquiries…
What does Marlow want? What is
standing in his way? What strategy does he pursue in order to overcome this
I think at
first Marlow only wanted to pursue his childhood dream, to get an adventure by
sailing to the “untouched” world of Congo, however when he really got a job in
a river steamboat for a Belgium trading company, Marlow became interested in a
character named Mr. Kurtz. Thus I can say that Marlow wants to meet and learn
from the remarkable and genius chief of Inner Station who had become the symbol
of successful colonialism and civilization of the African natives.
of being civilized, Marlow witnessed that the natives were slaved and inhumanly
treated. They were forced to do heavy-load works but were not supported with good
food and health. Kurtz’s station was the worst; Marlow found evidences of
savage rites which involved massacre of the natives (Kurtz become the chief of
the tribe). The icon of civilization had given up to his dark animal instinct.
In order to not
being contaminated with the savagery or the effect of wilderness, Marlow did
not fall into idolatry to Kurtz like others. He respected Kurtz' intelligence,
but not the dark passion.
What idea is the author trying
to convince you of? What evidence does he give you for believing the argument?
civilization of Congo was only a mask of white people greediness to take from
the land whatever they could for their own sake and wealth. Congo natives in
the end were far from being civilized, they were robbed by the white.
biggest irony was that the whites (such as Kurtz) became one of the savages
after spending years living in the center of wilderness.
“The wilderness had patted him on the head,
and, behold, it was like a ball—an ivory ball; it had caressed him, and—lo!—he
had withered; it had taken him, loved him, embraced him, got into his veins,
consumed his flesh, and sealed his soul to its own by the inconceivable
ceremonies of some devilish initiation. He was its spoiled and pampered favourite.”
“…But this must have been before his—let us
say—nerves, went wrong, and caused him to preside at certain midnight dances
ending with unspeakable rites, which—as far as I reluctantly gathered from what
I heard at various times—were offered up to him—do you understand?—to Mr. Kurtz
What does the setting of the book tell you
about the way human being are shaped?
will always be exploited by the stronger, that’s what I’ve been thinking after
I read this novella. In the case of this story, the whites exploited the blacks
by forcing them to work overload for the whites’ advantages. This context is—I believe—very
relevant to our modern world, where small or developing countries are often
forced to follow super power countries’ designs; so in a way, colonialism still, and will always, exists in our world.
What exactly is the writer telling you?
wanted to emphasize the hypocrisy of European colonialist; they always brag
about ‘civilizing’ the natives, but in truth they were sometimes less civilized
than the blacks. I am interested in Marlow’s reflection about why the cannibals
did not eat the whites on their sailing. I think it’s because—like in animals—God’s
creature should know when to stop taking advantage from others, we all had the
responsibility to maintain the nature’s balance. But greedy men, greedy
colonialists kept exploiting others even when they had had enough. In the end,
who were the less civilized?
Is there an argument in Mr. Kurtz’s
Mr. Kurtz downfall to the wilderness had been caused by his greediness. When he
thought he had the absolute power of not only the natives, but also the
station, the devil owned his soul. I found this from Marlow’s reflection:
“You should have heard him say, ‘My ivory.’
Oh, yes, I heard him. ‘My Intended, my ivory, my station, my river, my—’
everything belonged to him. It made me hold my breath in expectation of hearing
the wilderness burst into a prodigious peal of laughter that would shake the
fixed stars in their places. Everything belonged to him—but that was a trifle.
The thing was to know what he belonged to, how many powers of darkness claimed
him for their own.”
In what sense is the book true?
made sense that a civilized person—when living alone in the wilderness encircled
with savages for years—could end up being a savage himself. I always believe
that we are strongly influenced by the place where we live. I can’t imagine how
the natives could worship Kurtz, was that after he himself being savage? Or he
became savage because of the worshipping? The later makes more sense, because
when one had an absolute power, one can fallen into the darkness of his soul.
of human’s biggest sins was always greediness. Colonialism—while spreading
culture, knowledge or religion—often meant as an exploitation of the natives.
What Marlow have seen in Congo could have been happening anywhere, anytime where
there was colonialism. I’m an Indonesian, and I have learned these things too
*I read ebook from feedbooks dot com*
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