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Word Count: 818
Author James Conrad in his short story Heart of Darkness uses light in an attempt to symbolize the civilization of the European world and those things which by appearances are generally accepted as good To emphasize the acceptability of good or light it is often contrasted to the symbolization of darkness which Conrad shows as uncivilized savage or bad Conrad uses the characters reactions to light bright or otherwise colorful things and events to encourage the reader to concur that these symbols represent the civilization hes left in Europe and the goodness of that civilization The use of light as good is seen early in the story when the narrator comments on the setting sun He says the glowing white changed to a dull red without rays and without heat as if about to go out suddenly stricken to death by the touch of that gloom brooding over a crowd of men 345 The narrator is comparing the light to life and the darkness to the gloom and death that follows As Marlow begins recounting his arduous trip through the Congo he reflects upon times past other rivers that once uncivilized and dark are now teeming with civilization and brightness He states Light came out of this river since you say Knights But darkness was here yesterday 346 Here Marlow is referring to the Thames as at one time being uncivilized and dark but since the time of the Knights exploration and resulting development of the rivers banks and surrounding land is now referred to as good or light Marlow also refers to the light reflecting on the water The reader gets a sense that Conrad is trying to relay that the passengers of the Nellie represent civilization for the voyages they undertakeConrad later compares Marlows boyhood idealism of adventure and spirit with light He does this as Marlow is reminiscing about his childhood and says I would lose myself in all the glories
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