Chris
ENG 0A1
12/07/98
Heart of Darkness Essay
The Journey into the Soul

A pictures is an abstract idea, brought into context to form something concrete. They are made up and created to give off some sort of feeling or mood, that one can relate too. The atmosphere helps determine what kind of mood the picture will take. Any author, of either a painting or piece of literature will set the mood by using their atmosphere to enhance the theme of their creation. In Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad uses mood and atmosphere to help create a portrait called, the journey into the soul.
The journey to the soul is to find one's self. Atmosphere pervades the mood or spirit. The atmosphere aids in revealing the journey to find one's soul. The setting, "took in the forest, the creek, the mud, the river-seemed to beckon with a dishonoring flourish before the sunlit face of land a treacherous appeal to the lurking death, to the hidden evil, to the profound darkness of its heart." Conrad 54 Conrad does not even mention their exact location which is very peculiar. The main river was described in the form a snake. A snake can be looked at from many points of views, mythological, biblical, literal and metaphorically. The snake represents all the twists and turns and being able to find one's inner-self is very difficult and twisted. The snake represents some of the animal imagery in the novel. Perhaps this is a sign that the jungle is something living and not just an ordinary jungle.

Literature's imagery helps to show the main idea through a picture painted in one's mind. Imagery is very insightful and in Conrad's novel there is a lot of animal and hell imagery that branches together to form the main theme of the novel, the journey in finding one's self; the soul. The snake as mentioned before is an image of evil. In biblical times the snake created the evil in the story of Adam and Eve. The lion is an image that appears frequently. "He is crawling on all-fours,"Conrad 109 describes Kurtz as being the ominous, morbid man he is. On another level, it deals with how everyone has a little bit of lion in them, but one must overcome this phenomenal and boundless force. This lets the reader relate themselves to Kurtz and their own journey in finding themselves. Perhaps there is a little bit of Kurtz in all of us.
The characters in the Heart of Darkness, help depict the theme throughout their environment. There must be something distinctive to relate the themes and storyline too, and the characters play that role. One uniqueness in the novel is that there are only two specific names for all the characters, Kurtz and Marlow. The rest of the characters in the novel follow under general names such as, the manager, the helmsman etc. This is very interesting because its difficult to determine why Conrad would use this approach. Possibly Conrad takes this approach to express the theme of lost identity. This proves that the journey to find one's self, is one where not everything appears to be what it seems. In this long process one can change very much. Kurtz is a great example, he changed from being a painter and "essentially a great musician,"Conrad 122 to becoming corrupt by being swept up and digested by the darkness. Kurtz went past the point of no return, he was to corrupted to know he was being assaulted by the powers of darkness. Finding one's self is a dangerous journey. There are many distractions along the way that deal with temptation. These ‘temptations' are deadly and can lead to a great


deal of horror and suffering. This proves that the journey to the soul is not a pleasant journey. Marlow "saw the inconceivable mystery of a soul that knew no restraint, no faith, no fear, yet struggling blindly with itself." Conrad 113 Anyone who read Heart of Darkness can go back and take a look at the character Kurtz and relate themselves to a moment in their life that they had fallen into the binding grip of the darkness.
The mood of a story reflects the way the author makes the reader feel. In Heart of Darkness the reader acknowledges