Heart of Darkness Themes & Motifs

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The scene where Heart of Darkness opens is distinctly gloomy, as the light is fading. Marlow says that London, too, was once a dark place of the earth. By 1898, when Heart of Darkness was written, cities were places of light, and that light symbolized progress, understanding, civilization, refinement, and control. London was a contrast to places like Africa, which were associated with darkness of natives’ skin, savagery, lack of restraint, lack of control, chaos, and evil.

In the end, the Intended embodies the light of belief and love, and her face is the only thing in the dusk-filling room that holds any light. Marlow cannot spoil the light of faith for her by telling her that Kurtz had become a god to the natives. So, he lies and lets her light remain intact. It would have been too dark altogether, he says, to tell...

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This section contains 1,002 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Heart of Darkness Study Guide
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