Annie 's Reviews > Heart of Darkness
The dark masses had begun to congregate. Branches thumping against the glass and iron bars, in rhythm to some obscure, some lost song of the wild. The tendrils of darkness that took birth in the vacuums that the sun's warmth had just forsaken, had started their ascent :first shy, then bold, then complete. And when their majesty was absolute; pieces of the night sky, shining almost silver in the blackness met the pools of shades offered by the oozing earth with a coy surrender.
I opened a window. Just enough to allow the candle to hold it's flame and picked up the first Conrad I would ever read
It was lucky for me. Somehow, the elements had conspired to allow me this singular moment of authentic parallelism that made the transition to the sea faring universe of Heart of Darkness, palpable and real
In the heart of the story, Conrad's work is a treatise into the psychological variables of an innocent, who by design of fate and choice, ends up traversing the 'exotic and savage' wilderness of Africa. It seemed to me that the physical journey might not have been so much real but the beautiful handiwork of a master writer seeking to experiment the delving into the intricate mesh work of a mind's odyssey into his most intimate and savage self. In this respect, the choice of Africa lends an authentic charm to the subject, atleast to the colonial supremacist of the late 19th century with the Industrial Revolution blowing new steam into the proceedings. It was around for time when Europe launched their magnificent campaign to 'civilize' Africa. So, it is quite understandable that the choice of the land was to reinforce in the intended reader's mind the savage convulsions of psychological darkness.
The darkness is beautiful and still. The voyage of Marlow deeper into the heart of the land, via the Congo is, nevertheless, accompanied by some of the most beautiful descriptions of nature. Wild, free and untouched, something that I suppose was intended to lend an aura of fear, I found myself rejoicing in the pristine and sepulcrous land, yet untouched. I bought every word of it, and I ate it.(I wonder what the shrinks will make of that.) And if not for the very repulsive idealization of the supremacists which made towards dehumanizing the natives, that lends such an abhorrent aftertaste to my palate;my love for this piece of work would have been complete.
Heart of Darkness provides us with some very ponderable interesting characters. Two of my favorites : the educated and nomad harlequin surviving in the wild ;an adventurer, a seeker and the second, Mr Kurtz who is larger than life and a Superhuman persona, embodying madness, as is their due. He represents the lofty ideals of the educated invader who has 'ideas' and big ones too! They could not be forsaken and was considered his duty to share with the world. And he was savagery personified. A man who had given up his cultivated persona and had succumbed to sin and ventured into the darkest recesses and ultimately lost his marbles. But he still exercises a control over those that know him, an enigma, the intense magic that gives a sultry call to the journeyman and leads him astray. Marlow becomes his victim. The darkness almost engulfs him, but an act of kindness serves as his salvation.
The darkness belongs to no one. Nor the intended, neither the mistress . It is horror. The horrors! The horrors!