Was "Heart of Darkness" just a dark and depressing novel? Or were there positive moments in it? Why did they seem positive?i have to write 500 words on this by the 29th so i really could use some...

Was "Heart of Darkness" just a dark and depressing novel? Or were there positive moments in it? Why did they seem positive?

i have to write 500 words on this by the 29th so i really could use some insight or thoughts to get me started! thanks!

Asked on by conehead2

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ms-mcgregor's profile pic

ms-mcgregor | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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"Heart of Darkness" surely has its depressing moments. It is a journey of discovery and what Marlow finds is not "positive" according to twenty-first century standards. But it's not just a dark and depressing novel. Conrad wrote in his preface to "The Nigger of Narcissus" “Art itself may be defined as a single-minded attempt to render the highest kind of justice to the visible universe, by bringing to light the truth, manifold and one, underlying its very aspect.” So what Conrad was attempting to do in the novel is express some kind of truth and truth is not always "happy". However, the truth for Marlow is enlightening for others. Conrad shows us the greedy and seamy side of European colonialism. When the novel was written, many believed that the white man was bringing "light" to the African world. Conrad shows us that is not the truth. For instance, the cannibals who crew Marlow's steamboat are far nobler than the passengers--or "pilgrims" as Conrad calls them. Marlow sees the unfair treatment the Africans must endure and the insanity European superiority brings in the character of Kurtz. It's not a pleasant truth, but it is, and was, a truth that needed to be exposed. Like "The Jungle" and "Lord of the Flies", Conrad deals with the dark side of human life and forces the reader to confront it. That, to me, is something positive. Without seeing reality, we are unable to change it.

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gbeatty | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

 

I would have to say no, "Heart of Darkness" was not just a dark and depressing novel. The main reason for this is that I don't find it a depressing novel at all. Dark? Yes, absolutely. It explores the darker side of the human heart well, and looks at some pretty bleak aspects of humanity. However, this novel is far from depressing, and the reason is the suspense and the character portraits. As I read, I was intrigued to learn what happened to Kurtz, what happened to Marlow, and what it all meant. Anything that's this exciting--how can it be just depressing?

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