Ecological and Heart of Darkness
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There is a common saying that nature is people`s mother. It gives human natural conditions; it is their home. Nowadays, at the time of ecological crisis, nature suffers from man`s hand. In order to get everything and satisfy basic needs, man plunders nature. Nevertheless, laws of nature have always been; they have always impeded the actions of people in terms of destroying all round. Marlow, as the main character of the book Heart of Darkness written by Joseph Conrad Marlow, oversees “the endless exploitation and plunder of environment”, usage of environment in terms of making America free (Billy 20).
The focus of this story is on inhuman treatment of man to nature. Marlow is the one of main characters of the novel (Conrad 5). He appears like a narrator who stands for freedom of nature. Charles Marlow is a seaman, who stands for greatness of the British Empire. Action develops in Africa. After the narrator arrives there and lives for some time, he starts to dislike white men because of their invasion in the land where black people live. There are a lot of companies in this country that work without feeling guilty for the poor nature. One of the main companies is a company that buys irony for beads, cloth, and other everyday things from the native population. The second character that plays one of the main roles in the book is Kurtz, who is described as an agent famous in the district for his business qualities and a large collection of ivories; he works for this company. He is a journalist, skilled painter, and a “universal genius” (Conrad 20). In accordance with the narrator, the main idea of the book is that the man is trying to get as much as he can, but he fails doing that. At first, readers appear at the Central Trading Station. After an accident at this station, the crew of the steamboat is eager to buy spare parts of the ship without Kurtz, who is described as a character undertaking decisions by himself. While travelling along Kongo, a lot of troubles happen to the main heroes, though Kurtz is busy with buying ivory at the same time. While travelling up the river, Marlow met the Russian, who lives in a hut and works on Kurtz. In accordance with the words of that Russian, Kurtz is very dangerous creature who does everything for profits. When Kurtz is found by the members of the crew, Marlow takes him to the pilot house to cure him. Though Kurtz regrets about the mistakes in his life, before death, he only cries: “Horror! Horror!”, which describes him as a real breadwinner and warlike man.
Conrad admits that Kurtz is the person who learns a “supreme moment of complete knowledge” (Conrad 210). If everybody studies on Kurtz`s mistakes, life will be easier. In a year, Marlow goes to Kurtz`s fiancée. She asks him about the last words of the agent, and Marlow lies to her as he understands that last words of the hero were not the same as they were expected by this African woman.
Furthermore, the relationship between human and nature is also described in this book. An ecological imbalance is caused by negative actions of a man (Stape). When technological devices become more effective and technically improved, it does not mean that it is a positive side for the environment. For his greediness, Kurtz paid too much. Colonists have no right to ignore the possible boards of nature. They should concentrate on balanced application of resources, which will not destroy the basic micro flora of nature. The stability of ecological situation depends only on the actions of humans.
Moreover, there are various stylistic devices that are used here. Simile can be met at the beginning of the novel when author describes the sea-reach of the Thames as the beginning of interminable waterway (Conrad 3), and at the end of the story when Marlow tells to Kurtz`s fiancée that her loveliest person died as he lived (Conrad 218). Exaggeration is viewed when the author presents London as the largest and the greatest town in the world and in the sentence of description of Kurtz when Marlow compares him with an idol (Conrad 4). Synecdoche as a stylistic device is characterized by using idioms in the text; it is pointed out by Joseph Conrad in the phrase “holding hearts together” when African woman talks about her love to the ivory seeker (Conrad 217). Description of mist in Essex can be explained as a symbol, because mist is a sign of misunderstanding and loss in the time when people think that the more they exploit the earth, the more they feel themselves pleased and comfortable. Charactonym is a phrase with such names as Sir Francis Drake and Sir John Franklin who are the main sea-travellers, though they are robbers, but, nevertheless, they are people who felt themselves free when they shipped out (Conrad 11). “I think of his loneliness” can be admitted as a motif of the story (Conrad 216). Kurtz, having a beloved person and being one of the richest white men in Africa, feels himself lonely because he cannot find a harmony with nature. According to the philosopher, stylistic devices help to send all the fullness of emotions while reading the novel.
About the author
Joseph Conrad`s real name was Joseph Conrad Karzeniowski. He was born on 6th December 1857 in the southern part of Poland – Ukraine. Firstly, when he was a little boy, his father was sent to Vologda. Joseph was brought up by his mother and father until his mother died, and then, he was banished back to Ukraine after the death of his father in 1870. He studied at school in Krakow till 1874 when he made a trip around the sea for the first time. The sailor started to learn English, in which he became really interested. Then, in 1894, his first novel Almayer`s Folly was published.
Having Ukrainian and Polish background and propensity for the sea, the novelist started to develop his writing skills. He started to depict a struggle for freedom in his books in terms of impossible freedom in England (Walpole 10). This desired freedom Conrad found when he sailed the seas. He felt himself grateful for it. The Spectator was accepted by the audience in 1896 (Walpole 12). The New Review,published in 1897, was one of the most creative works by Conrad (Orr 50). The second period of productive work of the author started with such stories as Typhoon and Youth Heart and Darkness, both written in 1899. The main characters felt themselves free and did not fight for peace and democracy in Great Britain (Walpole 16). Heart of Darkness was published in 1899 in Blackwood`s Magazine (Orr 65). It is an autobiographical novel that demonstrates the narrator in the unfair world of ecological problems and technological achievements. The author admits his negative attitude to race and colonialism. Support and feeling of compassion to all of the colonized nations run through this novel. Under colonized nations, Conrad means Poland, roots of which he had. Search for ivory can be identified as an attempt to colonization of white people on native lands of black people.
To sum up, Heart of Darkness presents a struggle against decolonization and the right for self-determination. In accordance with the philosopher, this book depicts simile of fight between people of different races and fight between nature and a man. The first fight has practically been finished, and the second will always turns against man as the strength of nature is immense.