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The semi-autobiographical novella Heart of Darkness was written by Joseph Conrad in 1899 In order to adequately capture the true meaning and purpose of the novel it must be read not only as an adventure story but also as a social critique of imperialism and an exploration into the human mind and human morality The novella provides great insight into the depths of the human psyche and explores the issue of mankinds inner savagery or heart of darkness Conrad uses narrative techniques such as duel narration and imagery to highlight these key ideas Heart of Darkness is said to have established one of the dominant themes of 20th Century writing fear and disillusionment about the western mans place in the world Heart of Darkness can be read in part on a narrative level detailing Marlows journey through the Belgian Congo However to read it singularly in this way would be an injustice to the overall purpose of the novella In depth psychological issues are paralleled to Marlows physical journey For instance as Marlow gets closer to Kurtz he is able to see more clearly the appeal of succumbing to savagery What thrilled you was the thought of their humanitythe thought of your remote kinship with this wild and passionate uproar an appeal to me in this fiendish row is there Marlow also begins to be attracted to the idea of being a deity like being over the African people shown by his enthusiastic response to Kurtzs report must appear to them savages in the nature of supernatural beingsby the simple exercise of our will we can exert a power for good practically unbounded From that moment he soared and took me with him Throughout the novella Conrad attempts to awaken the reader to the destructive demoralising nature of the colonialist enterprise- hidden behind the fa of moral ideals In a letter to his publisher Conrad stated that Heart of Darkness details the
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