This is a course blog for the members of EH236 at the University of South Alabama, Spring 2006.

Friday, March 24, 2006

The Heart of Darkness

When I think of the question how Marlow found Europe, Africa, and Kurtz related in some way, I think of the hearts of all three. The title of the story describes the hearts of Europe, Africa, and eventually Kurtz. Their hearts were dark. Most people, places, and things don't start off dark they become that way over time, due to outside influence or passions roaring within. In the story Europe was to be the enlightener, but under everything was just the opposite. Like every successful undercover operation, it portrays itself to be the picture of perfection, happiness, success, prosperity for everyone, but behind the scenes, all of these things would be the opposite. The operation is truly flaw, sadness, failure, and poverty for everyone. When you think about the scene at the outer station where they had enslaved many Africans, how could this be enlightenment or success for all involved. The desire to get gain on behalf of Europe and the people of Africa may have started off without darkness but became dark along the way driven by a passion of greed. In the story it mentions that Kurtz was made of everything Europe. This ties Kurtz and Europe together as the two main contributors of what was happening in Africa. Kurtz and Europe used their knowledge to play on and take advantage of the ignorance of Africa. When Kurtz first arrived in Africa, his intentions were harmless, and because of outside influence, or maybe a passion to portray the truth about the horror in himself, led him astray. The story mentions that Kurtz was an extremist, so for him to corrupt himself just to prove that enlightenment was not being spread, was not unlikely. Africa is the picture of this so called enlightenment that Europe and Kurtz are contributing to society. If there were ever anything as dark as the way the slaves, or as they were called the criminals, were referenced to and treated was revealed here. They were never referred to as people always shapes and shadows. The story is full of death. Death not only of the slaves and soon Kurtz, but death of truth, hope, and love. I believe that Marlow knew that within Kurtz, Europe, and Africa, was the truth, and the only one that was not totally lost to the darkness was Kurtz. Kurtz still held the truth inside him even until the end laying on his death bed. Kurtz had things to remind him of the truth, like the pamphlet he had Marlow to keep. Marlow admired Kurtz not only for his eloquence, but his courage to say what he had in his heart. Even in the end Marlow still does not have the courage to tell the truth and shed some light on things. He tells Kurtz's fiance that Kurtz's last words were her name. If he would have told her what was truly said, maybe that would have opened the door for enlightenment. Marlow knew that Kurtz, Europe, and Africa were prisoners of this darkness, and that the real enlightenment was the truth coming out.


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