Friday, March 14, 2008

Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

Conrad’s Heart of Darkness put me off in the beginning because it plunged right into the story without giving any background. I was even more deterred as I soon happened upon the negative remarks about African blacks as mindless savages. Honestly, if I’d been reading a hardcopy of the book I might have stopped. But I was listening to an audio version that I downloaded from The narrator was superb and absolutely believable as Marlow’s voice. I kept going… Unlike last week’s book this one was clearly a classic for a reason!

Joseph Conrad paints a picture of an incredibly gifted man, Kurtz, who goes into the heart of Africa to be a part of the ivory trade. But somehow as he lives in the jungle he self-destructs. Marlow said of him, “The wilderness had found him out early and had taken on him a terrible vengeance for the fantastic invasion. I think it had whispered to him things about himself that he did not know, things of which he had no conception until he took counsel with his great solitude. The whisper had proved irresistibly fascinating. It echoed loudly within him because he was hollow at the core.”

By the end of the book Kurtz is shown to be the most savage of all for selling his soul to his darkest impulses. The closing scene with Marlow and Kurtz’ intended bride was remarkable for its word plays on light and darkness. This is an amazing piece of writing and I’m glad I didn’t give up on it.

1 comment:

LauraH said...

I agree with you. This book was awesome. Cool site. It helped me out a lot.