Dictating Civilization

"Heart of Darkness" by Joseph Conrad

“Heart of Darkness” by Joseph Conrad

With each new step, society marches forward, progressing, imposing, and overcoming. Marching through the heart of Africa, European society encroached upon the Natives and changed the continent for marketing and cultural purposes. From the pages of his novel, Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad expresses his own personal views on the march of civilization, carefully selecting details and meticulously constructing his diction to clearly illustrate his thoughts.

Repetition, repetition, repetition. A march involves placing one foot after the other in a continuous motion, repeating, and repeating. Conrad clearly demonstrates this action through his sentence structure and word choices. Phrases are repeated and thoughts are restated, reminding the reader of the constant presence and never-ending pressure the Europeans enforced on the Natives of Africa. Over and over they came, enslaved, and stole the people and riches from the land. Africa was changing, “death skulking in the air, in the water, in the bush.”

This change in the unexplored world had become a common event and an ancient story heard time and time again. To capture this, Conrad continues to write his novel in first person, Marlow telling the story as if he was sitting beside the reader, his mind lost in memories. Seaman dialect is thrown in to give character, personality, and charm, and to remind the reader of the reality. “What d’ye call ‘em?” Marlow asked, involving his listeners with his storytelling, keeping the reader interested and aware.

Insuring that the readers understand how the Europeans invaded, and how civilization spread throughout Africa, Conrad installed many similes and metaphors throughout his book. “It is like a running blaze on a plain, like a flash of lightning in the clouds,” the way the Europeans came. With this imagery in his head and an understandable comparison to relate to, the reader is well informed and not left confused. Complex ideas are made more simple, and foreign scenes become familiar.

By manipulating his words, his sentence structures, and his meanings, Joseph Conrad was able to convey his own thoughts and views across his pages and into the minds of others. Through his skilled hand, words flowed, creating images of encroaching cultures and opinions on the situation. Through his novel, Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad revealed the march of the Europeans and the progression and extinction of civilizations.