Get help from the best in academic writing.

Maliciousness Exposed in Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness

Foolishness and Maliciousness in Exposed in Heart of Darkness

Joseph Conrad paralleled the Eldorado Expedition in his novel Heart of Darkness with the Katanga Expedition of 1890-1892. By doing so, he illustrated the folly and malevolence of the leaders of the Katanga Expedition and of Imperialist profiteers in general.

The foundations for the Katanga Expedition were laid in 1883 when King Leopold proposed that he would leave the Congo state to Belgium in his will if he could borrow 25 million francs without interest to finance development of the area. In 1890, Prime Minister Beernaert ensured that Leopold got the loan (Pakenham 399). Through German adventurers and British missionaries, Leopold soon learned of both the riches Katanga had to offer in terms of natural resources and of its unusual native warlord, Msiri. With hopes of gaining raw materials, Leopold launched the Katanga Expedition in 1890 (Pakenham 400).

Conrad’s “Kurtz” in Heart of Darkness is based on Georges-Antoine Klein (Sherry 9), although there are many similarities between him and Msiri, the native chief of Katanga, as well. Like Kurtz, Msiri was fond of keeping tight control of everything in his area, and he was partial to showing off his collection of human heads (Pakenham 400). As Kurtz had no qualms about shooting his supporters (such as the Russian) over trivial matters (Conrad 56), Msiri frequently cut off appendages of any of his subjects who displeased him (Pakenham 403). As Msiri was huge, “six-foot and fourteen stone,” (Pakenham 403), Kurtz “looked at least 7 feet long” (Conrad 59). When Msiri’s enemies became bolder, huts filled with Msiri’s supplies were burned down (Pakenham 406). This is analogous to the incident in Heart of…

… middle of paper …

… at the back of it than there is in burglars breaking into a safe,” (Conrad 33). Through Marlow, Conrad was pointing out the evil ambitions of the Katanga Expedition. In the Katanga Expedition, there was no true goal of “enlightening” the “savage” natives. The members of the expedition cared only about money and riches. They did not care about what happened to the native people of Africa. Conrad was disgusted with the way Belgium treated people of the Congo, and he blatantly illustrated this repugnance with his portrayal of the Katanga Expedition thinly veiled as the Eldorado Expedition.

Works Cited

Conrad, Joseph. Heart of Darkness. New York: W. W. Norton and Company, Inc, 1988.

Pakenham, Thomas. The Scramble for Africa. New York: Random House, 1991.

Sherry, Norman. Conrad’s Western World. Great Britain: Cambridge University Press, 1971.

Significance of Repetition in Our Town

Significance of Repetition in Our Town

Wilder was born in Madison, Wisconsin in 1897 to Amos Parker Wilder and Isabella Wilder. In 1906, Amos Wilder was appointed American Consul General, and his family moved with him to Hong Kong. Thornton Wilder only lived in Hong Kong for 6 months, moved back to the United States with his mother, and then in 1911 rejoined his father in Shanghai for a year. Wilder attended Oberlin College for two years, moved with his family to New Haven, Connecticut, and entered Yale University. He wrote his first full-length play in 1920, which appeared in the Yale Literary Magazine. After receiving his B.A. at Yale, he traveled and taught French. In 1926, he received his M.A. in French Literature from Princeton. Thornton Wilder effectively illustrates the importance of life’s repetition in Our Town through the cycle of life, George and Emily’s love, and the playing of “Blessed Be the Tie that Binds.”

Wilder’s show of the cycle of life in Our Town exemplifies the significance of life’s repetition. In Act I, the beginning of life’s cycle is shown when Dr. Gibbs returns home from delivering twins. In the act of “Love and Marriage,” which follows three years later, the Stage Manager describes children growing up and learning to talk, and people who used to be athletic are finding that they cannot do what they used to do. He goes on by saying that most young people found that they were ready to get married, and start their families. So was true with George Gibbs and Emily Webb. They moved on from being children and were now learning how to be adults. In Act III, which is placed nine years afte…

… middle of paper …

…ral sing the song to show the gap between the dead and the living. “Blessed Be the Tie that Binds” facilitates the understanding of the play and life.

Thornton Wilder effectively demonstrates the importance of life’s repetition in Our Town through the cycle of life, George and Emily’s love, and the playing of “Blessed Be the Tie that Binds.” The cycle of life is shown repeating from birth to life to death and back to birth again. George and Emily’s love is repetitious and unending, even after the death of Emily, which demonstrates the importance of life. As “Blessed Be the Tie that Binds” is recurrently heard throughout the play, it serves as a bridge through a void of time or place, which is important in understanding the play. It is no wonder that Wilder achieved a Pulitzer Prize for his in-depth work of life.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.