Modernism in Joseph Conrad's "The Heart of Darkness"

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As western civilization grew to the ambitions of wealth and power, the countries of Europe took upon themselves the “white man’s burden”. Imperialism spread through the supposedly less civilized and possibly savage lands across the world. These actions of the early twentieth century laid the foundation for the Modernist writers. Joseph Conrad was one such writer in the early decades of this new century. His Heart of Darkness brought the atrocities and hypocrisies to the hearts and minds of readers across civilization. Though some would argue otherwise, this novel is amongst the earliest of Modernist writings because of the numerous elements such as literary techniques that are strange and upset the reader, new and unused subject matter not mentioned before this time, and experimentation in the literature. Conrad’s Heart of Darkness is the story of a river boat captain on the Congo River who finds himself thrust into the harsh lands of savage men. Here he meets the great and almost almighty Kurtz. This is the story shown in the exact text. The real story is the adventure of an unsuspecting man into the hypocrisies and atrocities that darken the legacy of man. The captain learns quickly that “white man’s burden” is not one of good will, but one of torment to the natives of the conquered land. Kurtz is a god to the Africans; even the main character sees him as such until they meet. This great build up of yearning to meet the malevolent and kind man known as Kurtz only to learn that he is a sickly old man that has been broken by white man burden is one of Conrad’s displays of modernism because this technique shows how man anticipations can twisted. This new plot of anticipation causes upset in the reader because they too were distraught by the real Kurtz. Most of Conrad’s Heart of Darkness was written in a perspective that gave the reader a sense of first

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