Collapse of Idealism in Conrad's Heart of Darkness

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Collapse of Idealism in Conrad’s Heart of Darkness Prepared by: Mohammad Al-Kurdi Collapse of Idealism in Conrad’s Heart of Darkness Man seeks improvement. He always advances his character, life, culture, etc. Improvement might be in science, technology, behavior, and psychology, and the like matters. In other words, one looks forward to improve whatever field he is able to work on. That is, one searches for idealism in order to have a better life. An example of improvement is civilization, or bringing civilization to an uncivilized world. In Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad sheds light on the idea of bringing civilization to Africa by an idealist called Kurtz. The European community has held meetings to discuss the matter of developing other countries or areas like Africa. Conrad mentions one of the European bands “this devoted band called itself the Eldorado Exploring Expedition” (43). Moreover, the main character of the novella, Kurtz, represents the Europeans “‘he is a very remarkable person.’ Further questions elicited from him that Mr. Kurtz was at present in charge of a trading-post, a very important one, in the true ivory-country” (25). In fact, Kurtz is a remarkable character and the most important trader of the Europeans because he “sends in as much ivory as all the others put together …” (25) and that what makes him an idealist. As we read later in the book, Kurtz “is an emissary of pity and science and progress, and devil knows what else. We want… for the guidance of the cause intrusted to us by Europe, so to speak, higher intelligence, wide sympathies, a singleness of purpose,” (35) we notice the significance of Kurtz. To put it in a nut shell, what the Europeans bear in mind about idealism and idealists is represented in the character of Kurtz. Kurtz is a type of an idealistic European man, so to speak. Kurtz was not only an ivory collector.

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