Joseph Conrad - heart of darkness (1902)
Conrad was born in Ukraine and he spent his childhood in Russia with his uncle. From a very early age he had been attracted to the sea and, from he was twenty-one, he spent sixteen year sailing around the world.
We must remember that Conrad was a writer who didn't use his originally language but an idiom who he understand when he was twenty.
His main works are: heart of darkness (1902) and Nostromo (1904).
His style is poetry and rich but also complex and rich in symbols and psychological depth.
Heart of darkness could considered as a novella because it's short but most critics see it as a novel for its main themes and the complex structure. This novel is strong autobiographical, based on the writer's personal experiences in the congo.
Heart of darkness is also considered the first modern novel: unlike the stories of the previous century, conrad's novel is much more pessimistic and it contained a critic of the society, especially the role of colonizer; in fact the colonialism is the most important theme of the novel.
The central question of the poem is: "who is really primitive and who can claim to be civilized?"
Conrad also reflected about the values of the western society, values based on power and material gain.
Another important element for the work is the discovery, not only for the new lands but especially the interior discovery.
Conrad in his work used irony, in reference to the colonizers and their attitude to the native, symbolism - for example the contradiction of the white man who brings "darkness" into the African world and the black man that were colonized for their "white gold" or ivory - and, finally imagery especially of death. The images of the jungle itself have an important power.
Conrad adopts the narrative technique known as "the frame", already seen in Chaucer's Canterbury tales: one narrator introduces another one.
The narrative is divided into three chapters, each one with a different phases in Marlow's relationship with the character of Kurtz, the meeting of the two became central to the plot; in the first chapter Marlows begins to hear about Kurtz, in the second the curiosity has become stronger and, finally, the last one chapter there is the meeting between the two.