Heart Of Darkness post

Heart Of Darkness was one of the books I enjoyed reading most this year in arts one. For me at least, the plot and narration of the novel was one of the most absorbing of anything on the syllabus. I think part of the reason why I was so captivated was because of the ongoing mystery of ‘the darkness’ and its specific nature, which was left pretty vague. I think the setting and general premise of the book worked perfectly to lead me on, beckoning me to continue reading with the promise of a dark secret being told. The sinister depiction of the river and unsettling images of the workers and natives made me want to understand why they were like this. I was especially unsettled by the description of the workers at the stations, who seemed to be only feigning true purpose, and working to no particular end. As was mentioned in lecture, it is easier to be occupied with a specific job that society deems necessary than to rise above that job and realize ‘the horror’ of the world,which you may actually be contributing to. The therapeutic facade of work demonstrated by the company employees really expressed to me how daunting and fearful the realization of one’s own complicity can be, and how blindly going about a task is a perhaps more appealing alternative.

Read 2 comments

  1. I too enjoyed the ambiguous tone of this book. I agree it is one of the most compelling aspects of the novella. Like, what is actually the heart of darkness? I also found the notion that completing a menial task or job can just be a method of finding purpose in the chaos and horror of the world quite interesting… and frightening.

  2. I don’t know if Professor Crawford mentioned it this year, but last year we had read Camus’ myth of Sisyphus (parts of it), where he talks about how Sisyphus is forced to just push a rock up a mountain and watch it fall back down, over and over, and that human life is also absurd like that–meaningless work until we die. It’s a bit more complicated than that, but that’s the main idea! Yet Camus says we must imagine Sisyphus happy; he (and we) must find happiness in our lives despite their absurdity. Camus talks about there being so essential meaning to life, but that we can and should nevertheless create our own. One way you could do this is to focus on work, on doing something in which you can create meaning. Or, you could just busy yourself in menial and ultimately meaningless tasks and simply distract yourself from the absurdity of life. Maybe that’s what’s going on with the pilgrims in the stations.

    I’m also curious why he calls them “pilgrims,” which seems to me a clearly religious term. I don’t have a clear thought on that at the moment!

Leave a Reply