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Joseph Conrads Heart of Darkness Symbolism of Light and Dark What are the characterizations of a civilized person Is it a person who conforms to a standard social molding which we determine sophisticated Is it being education and staying within the societal stereotypes In Joseph Conrads 1901 literary masterpiece Heart of Darkness these concepts of what is considered to be civilized in our European-adopted culture is the main theme of the story Conrads theory that when man are taken away from civilization that the true darkness of a mans heart is truly discovered and the savage within takes over Joseph Conrad uses symbolism to enhance the main theme of the novel by setting certain symbolic elements in opposition to contrasting elements In order to achieve this he relies heavily on metaphors Repeating throughout Heart of Darkness was the contrast between elements representing as being light and elements characterized as being dark Light carries with it the metaphorical meanings of what is good true civilized and humane The word darkness and the use of dark elements epitomize everything that is evil obscure and uncivilized Heart of Darkness is embedded with complex layering of interconnected and overlapping symbols Conrads use of symbolism metaphors and irony was necessary in order to convey the storys overall theme Africa was to the Europeans a place of another type of darkness It was a place of the unknown danger disease and violence Charlie Marlow the protagonist and central character spoke fondly of the large blank map of Africa when he was a boy It was empty because explorers had not recorded the features of that part of the world A few examples in where Joseph Conrad uses this stylistic device of the element of dark and light was in the telling of the story of the two captains Fresceven and Danes were stationed at a post near a native village Due to a squabble over two black hens Fresceven killed
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