Heart of Darkness Questions and Answers
by Joseph Conrad

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How are light and darkness used by Joseph Conrad in his novel Heart of Darkness?

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Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness uses light and darkness as metaphors for mental awakening and for representations of death, evil and emptiness.  The mere title, Heart of Darkness, is a reference both to the metaphorical “darkness” that resides inside of man – or, more specifically, in the European colonialists who systematically enslaved millions while exploiting their resources – and to the image of the deepest parts of Africa as “dark,” both in terms of the literal absence of light beneath the heavily-canopied jungles and to the long-discredited notion of Africa as devoid of culture and worth (“the dark continent”).   Early in his novel, Conrad’s protagonist, Charles Marlow, references his travels down the Congo River into the heart of Africa, and how the experience of visiting that location and finally encountering Kurtz

“seemed somehow to throw a kind of...

(The entire section contains 539 words.)

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