Objects in heart of darkness
What are objects in a Story?
For better understanding some of the objects in heart of darkness, learners need to have an idea of what objects are in a story. An object is any item or detail that the narrator draws attention to. A function is a function that an object performs. It could serve as a clue, remind someone of something, or create conflict between characters. You can give an object multiple functions to add depth to your story. Learn how to use objects.
By successfully Analyzing Objects in heart of darkness, students learn how well to improve their current when narrating stories. Your character is likely not just standing there and uttering dialogue. He is actually doing something with his hands. She is exchanging a business card. He is playing with a pencil. He’s fiddling with a pencil. Objects add concreteness to scenes. They also give meaning to dialogue and encounters.
Use of Objects for More Powerful Stories
It can be easy to forget objects in storytelling. Props can be overlooked in storytelling. It could be a bug spray can, a valuable gem, a coin, or a framed photograph. Although it seems that every character is surrounded by dozens of objects, the storyteller will mention those that have a purpose.
Although it has not been my natural instinct to imagine objects and think about how they can be used in stories, I have never put too much effort into this. As a writer, I have learned how important objects are in creating stories that are unique and memorable. These objects are worth more attention than I can give them in my initial story imagining and subsequent revisions.
Here are some examples of objects that help to tell powerful stories
- Propel the Plot
- Setup and payoff Narrative Unity
- Reveal Character Personality.
- Reveal Character Interiority.
- Facilitate thematic unity
- Some objects found in the heart of darkness
Objects in heart of darkness: The River
Europeans have Africa’s key, the Congo River. They can access the middle of Africa without crossing it physically. In other words, the Congo River allows the white man to be always outside or separate. Africa is reduced to a series two-dimensional scene, which Marlow flashes by as he travels upriver.
The river seems to want to drive Africans out of Africa: the current makes it slow and difficult to travel upriver, but the flow makes it swift and almost inevitable to travel downriver. Marlow’s struggle with the river while he travels upstream towards Kurtz reflects his inability to comprehend the circumstances in which he finds himself. On the other hand, his ease in returning downstream mirrors his acceptance of Kurtz and his “choices of nightmares.”
The Congo River is among the objects in heart of darkness and should not be underestimated. Joseph Conrad is a well-known novelist. His writing style is remarkably described by his two main techniques, “imagery” and “symbolism”. He is romantic, but it is not hard to see that “Heart of Darkness”, his writing style, is based on his own experiences. Although the imaginary of “Heart of Darkness”, while it is better than romantic poets, its symbolic significance is still horrifying. Congo, for example, is more than a country. It’s a fear in its own right. Joseph Conrad explains his views on it in these words:
It had turned into a dark place. There was one river in it, however, a very large river that you could see on the maps. It looked like an enormous snake, uncoiled, its head in water, its body curving over vast countries, and its tail lost in deepest parts of the ground.
Through Marlow, the fictional character of the writer, he does not see river as simple as a layman would. He isn’t amused by its beauty and neither does he see it as simple as a layman. However, he tells us about its darkness and its terrible lucidity. The writer has provided detailed illustrations of the danger involved. The river is described as a snake-like creature that has captured all of the inhabitants of the village.
Because the writer mentioned it in the novel, we will refer to the Congo as a river when we speak about it. The Congo was not a country or a state at the time of publication of the novel. It was, however, a horrible river as the writer described in “Heart of Darkness”. The writer has extensive knowledge and experience about the river, so the description of the river is unexpectedly included.
The river as one of the objects in heart of darkness is represented in symbolic imagery as well as vivid imagery. The river is more than a waterway. The river was the only way to link Whitemen with Africans at that time. The river was used for transportation. This river was used to transport ivory.
Marlow was traveling through the river with his companion. His steamboat was slowing down, which is Marlow’s hidden message. This message is to be aware of the Pandora box of innumerable hurdles that the African people will face. It is a sign that Marlow should return to his hometown instead of traveling further. Contrary to this, Marlow returned to his hometown and the speed of the steamboat increased. This clearly distinguished between the reality of the Whiteman and the African people.
Objects in heart of darkness: Ivory:
Conrad uses ivory as objects in heart of darkness to symbolizes greed and man’s destructive nature. Managers and agents of the Company become so obsessed with ivory that they lose sight of their morals and other civilized practices. As Marlow moves closer to the hearts of darkness, the significance of ivory starts to shift away from greed and assumes a pure evil connotation. Every company member seems to have repeated Kurtz’s love for ivory throughout the course of this story.
Kurtz was able to harvest more ivory than any other station combined. Therefore, it seems almost appropriate that Conrad used extensive ivory imagery when describing Kurtz. Marlow said earlier that Kurtz had been patted on the head by the wilderness, and it was like an ivory ball.
Kurtz is taken to the hospital on a stretcher by the evil. Kurtz’s evil has now spread to his entire body. The Russian recounts Kurtz’s desire for ivory. Kurtz threatened to shoot the Russian who was snatching small quantities of ivory. He did so because he could and had a lust for it. There was nothing that could stop him killing anyone he pleased.
Kurtz’s almost godlike power is unchecked except for diseases. Ivory is simply a symbol of greed. As we have seen, the main purpose of white-men entering Africa was not to make it more civilized but to obtain more ivory. They were apparently working for their welfare, but they really wanted their resources.
The evil attitude of whites can be seen in various parts of the novel, and ivory is a symbol of this. White-men are able to take advantage of the resources that Africans possess. They entered Africa under the disguise of colonialism and civilization to grab their resources.
There are many other symbols which Conrad uses as objects in heart of darkness. Joseph Conrad is a master at symbolism. His inner truths have been revealed only by symbols in “Heart of Darkness”.
When it comes to descriptive writing, he is a genius at describing different types of symbols. Images, descriptions, and an in-depth analysis of “Heart of Darkness” reveal the wonderful meanings of symbols.
Objects in heart of darkness: Steamboat
The setting is where the story takes you. The setting gives context to the story and helps the audience better understand it. Sometimes, the setting may even be an integral part of the story, such as if it is set in a car, a plane, or a boat.
This is what happens with Marlow’s steamboat, which is also the case in Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. Although the steamboat is an integral part of the story, it also adds to the meaning and context of the events.
Objects in heart of darkness: Home away from home
Marlow’s story is largely set on the steamboat. This is where Marlow spends most of his time when he reaches the Congo, the location of most of the book’s events. When he’s stuck at Central Station, he sleeps on the steamboat.
Marlow spends a lot of time on the steamer, as he has to rebuild it. This makes it a very special item. He comments at Central Station that it was a great comfort for him to turn to his influential friend, the battered and twisted, ruined, Tin-pot steamboat.
I climbed on board. She rang beneath my feet like an empty Huntley & Palmer biscuit tin. Although she was not as solid and pretty as I thought, she was a good friend. I could not have asked for a better friend.
This attachment is kept throughout the story. Although it’s not a well-built vessel and causes many problems, the steamboat takes Marlow to his destination and back. Marlow would not have made it to the Inner Station without the steamer. The story would have been quite different. This illustrates how important setting is.
Objects in heart of darkness: Movement
Marlow used the steamboat to get to the Inner Station. It is also part of the setting and symbolizes his departure from civilization. Marlow finds the steamer at Central Station, and has to make all repairs with very little supplies. Marlow would have been able to find help and supplies in a more civilized area, as well as a better-constructed boat.
It is important to pay attention to how the boat moves. The boat moves slower as they approach the Inner Station, especially when its pipes leak. This suggests that perhaps going forward may not be the best option and could lead to future dangers. The steamer then appears to travel faster on the return journey. This again illustrates the importance of the steamer’s movement in revealing what lies ahead.
The steamer’s movement is also connected to Kurtz’s death. They are returning to civilization on their return journey. Kurtz’s death on the steamer while returning from their journey is a sign of how far he had fallen. Kurtz would not have been able to return to civilization after the things he did in Congo. Kurtz’s last step to civilization was the steamer, so here he dies.
Objects in heart of darkness: Difficult Journey
Due to the poor design of the steamer, the journey to the Inner Station was not easy. Marlow had to be on the lookout for rocks and snags that could cause the boat’s bottom to burst. The area was too shallow once or twice, so the crew had to push the boat through the mud. It is a reminder of the dangers and challenges ahead.
Objects in heart of darkness: Fog
Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness uses fog as a sign of the unknowable. The fog takes on the characteristics of its description, and it becomes a blinding force that restricts Marlow and other colonizers’ views. The fog’s presence is in Heart of Darkness to an extent permanent. Conrad doesn’t always refer to fog as fog from the beginning of his novel until the end of his story, but the foreboding fog is always there.
Conrad introduces the fog in the opening paragraphs. Although it is not addressed directly, Conrad describes how the “haze”, which rests on London’s low heels, creates a feeling of mystery and uncertainty (Conrad 17). The fog can be described as “dark” or “condensed into an eerie gloom that “broods silently” (17). In the novel’s opening, Marlow and the sailor attempt to escape the “brooding darkness” (17).
Conrad posits the characters as trying to escape or escaping the fog. Instead of confronting the reality that the fog represents, Conrad chooses to allow the fog to take over and obscure his vision. Although it isn’t referred to as fog, the engulfing “haze”, which marlow encounters, sets the tone for the rest (17). This “motionless” fog will not leave Marlow, but it will hover over him as he recounts his journeys.
Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness uses fog as an image. The word appears nine times in the novel. However, it is inconsistent in its meaning. Conrad wrote “Here and There a Military Camp Lost in a Wilderness, Like a Needles in a Bunch of Hay – Cold, Fog, Tempes, Disease, Exile and Death – Death sulking In The Air, In the Water, In the Bush” (20).
The word fog is often used in conjunction with words that have very negative connotations such as “cold”, “tempests,” disease, exile, and death (20). This causes fog to acquire the dark connotations that other words have, making it a word that represents darkness and death. This quote refers to military camps lost in wilderness. In context, it lends the threat darkness and death to “fog”. This fog can become just as terrifying and relevant to these soldiers.
Fog is a benign force of nature that isn’t life-threatening on its own, but when it is paired with disease, tempests and exile, it is much more powerful.