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Marlows Catharsis in Heart of Darkness Conrads novel Heart of Darkness relies on the historical period of imperialism to illuminate its protagonist Charlie Marlow and his struggle with two opposite value systems Marlow undergoes a catharsis during his trip to the Congo and learns of the effects of imperialism I will analyze Marlows change which is caused by his exposure to the imperialistic nature of the historical period in which he lived Marlow goes to the Congo River to report on Mr Kurtz a valuable officer to their employer When he sets sail he does not know what to expect When his journey is complete his experiences have changed him forever Heart of Darkness is a story of one mans journey through the African Congo and the enlightenment of his soul Marlow begins his voyage as an ordinary English sailor who is traveling to the African Congo to work He is an Englishmen through and through He has never been exposed to any culture similar to the one he will encounter in Africa and he has no idea about the drastically different culture that exists there Throughout the book Conrad via Marlows observations reveals to the reader the naive mentality of Europeans Marlow also shares this naivet in the beginning of his voyage However after his first few moments in the Congo he realizes the ignorance he and all his comrades possess We first recognize the general naivet of the Europeans when Marlows aunt sees him for the last time before he embarks on his journey She assumes that the voyage is a mission of weaning those ignorant millions from their horrid ways line 16 In reality however the Europeans are there in the name of imperialism and their sole objective is to earn a substantial profit by collecting all the ivory in Africa The reader can also see the Europeans obliviousness of reality when Marlow is recounting his adventure aboard the
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