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The Effect of the Jungle on Kurtz in Heart of Darkness

June 23, 2022 by Essay Writer

In ”Heart of darkness”, Joseph Conrad uses the jungle as a background or a backdrop of the story. The wilderness is a mysterious thing, that develops the anomaly of the novella. during this quotation, ”Trees, trees, many trees, massive, immense, running up high; and at their foot, hugging the bank against the stream, crept the small begrimed steamboat, sort of a sluggish beetle crawling on the ground of a lofty portico. It made you are feeling very small, very lost, and yet it had been not altogether depressing, that feeling. After all, if you were small, the grimy beetle crawled on—which was just what you wanted it to try to to.” The repetition of trees creates the image of brooding intensity. The jungle’s horrifying nature revealed on those how surrounded it. Also, its effects contribute to the concept of isolation and also the decline of the mind. during this quote, ”And outside, the silent wilderness surrounding this cleared speck on the world struck me as something great and invincible, like evil or truth, waiting patiently for the death of this fantastic invasion”, Conrad talks about the motifs of isolation. He indicates that Congo may be a separate place that’s isolated from the planet and located within the heart of the wilderness. during this novel, the jungle isn’t only a relevancy a physical location in Africa but, it refers to the condition of mind and also the ruthlessness of colonialism. In ”Heart of Darkness,” the jungle provides the opposing motifs of mystery and truth. Also, it symbolizes the Europeans’ greed, cruelty, and also the inner truth of darkness behind their actions. The term ”Jungle” indicates the mystery and also the unknown things. Furthermore, it is the setting, where Kurtz looks for ivory. The wilderness indicates the deep and also the darkness during which Kurtz has fallen. Besides, to its function as a personality, who invites Kurtz into its deep, and causes his descending into its darkness. Therefore, we see its impact on him. The Jungle affects Kurtz’s behavior, mental and physical health. It transformed him from a decent person to a corrupt and hollow person.

At first, the jungle’s impact on Kurtz’s character is presented throughout the mutation of his behavior, as he changed from morality to wickedness. At the beginning of the novella, most of the characters told Marlow about Kurtz’s morality. For instance, the chief accountant that Marlow meets in the outer station tells Marlow about Kurtz, that he is a successful agent who ”sends as much ivory as all other agents put together”. When Marlow meets the brickmaker in the central station, they engage in a conversation discussing Kurtz, as a ”prodigy”, an ”emissary of pity, science, and progress”. Also, Kurtz’s fiancée indicates that he has ”ambition”, ”eloquence” and ”charisma”. His intended indicates that he has a ”generous mind” and ”noble heart”. Moreover, she says that he is a man of ”greatness” and ”promise”. In this quotation, ‘I rose. Then noticed a small sketch of oils, on a panel, representing a woman, draped and blindfolded, carrying a lighted torch. The background was somber- almost black. The movement of the woman was stately, and the effect of the torchlight on the face was sinister.” , we learn that Kurtz was initially Known as a person who has good ideas. He believes that white people must civilize the ignorant natives. Besides, he is regarded as a powerful and adventures man when he goes to the heart of an isolated jungle to explore cannibal inhabited land, but all of his good characteristics are completely changed when he first arrived there.

In ”Heart of Darkness,” the main reason for imperialism and colonialism in the Cong is the European’s greed for wealth and power. Kurtz as a colonial person is affected by the darkness of the jungle after he arrives in the Congo. He begins to believe that his ideas and experiences are universal ones. The concept of Universalism is visible in Kurtz and Europeans behaviors. It is also evident in Kurtz’s report that he has written for the International Society for the Suppression of Savage Customs. This report is a beautiful piece of writing said Marlow. In it, Kurtz believes that European people must appear like supernatural beings to the natives, which is different from his earlier belief.

Edward Said develops the term Orientalism, which is a theme that Joseph Conrad uses in his novel. It serves to divide the world into the west and the east. Additionally, it used to distinguish between two parts of the world, which differ in terms of culture and economy. Also, it is evident in Kurtz’s behavior when he stays in the interior in the company of the savages. He begins to differentiate himself from them as an intelligent person, and the natives as barbaric. Marlow notices that the heads on the posts in Kurtz fence ” those heads on the stakes if their faces had not been turned to the house… and there it was black, dried and sunken with closed eyelids.” the decoration of the knobs around Kurtz’s house with heads of the natives shows us how his behavior changed from a person who wants to civilize the natives to a criminal one.

Also, Marlow indicates that Kurtz’s cruel behavior comes from his stay in the wilderness. In this quote ”I tried to break the spell- the heavy mute spell of the wilderness that seemed to draw him to its pitiless breast by the awakening of forgotten and brutal instincts by the memory of monstrous and gratified passions” Kurtz is described as moving toward the cruel beast of the jungle, and affected by its darkness. Moreover, it changes him to an evil person, which is evident in his last words in the report ”exterminate all the brutes”, which shows us the submission of Kurtz to the wilderness. Although his desire to separate from civilization, he still punishes the natives to bring and governance. 

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