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Alienation and Lonliness in Heart of Darkness

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Danielle Staudte

on 21 January 2014

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Transcript of Alienation and Lonliness in Heart of Darkness

Alienation and Loneliness in Heart of Darkness
Loneliness and alienation is seen greatest in Kurtz. Kurtz inflicts isolation upon himself. He was cut off from humanizing influence. Kurtz grew ill and had the option to go back to Europe to get better and he refused. His common sense was alienated itself from him. All Kurtz cared about was the natives worhsipping him, wealth that he gained from the ivory, and the power he now had.
"As Guerard expresses it, "Conrad believes, with the greatest moralist, that we must know evil - our own capacities for evil - before we can be capable of good.""
Alienation and Loneliness
Loneliness: affected with, characterized by, or causing a depressing feeling of being alone; lonesome.
Alienate: to turn away; transfer or divert
“Everything belonged to him – but that was a trifle. The thing was to know what he belonged to, how many powers of darkness claimed him for their own” (Page 73).
Examples in Heart of Darkness
This quote represents how Kurtz went mad and gave himself up for ivory. His greed completely enveloped him. This quote shows Kurtz turning into a savage and losing himself in Africa and the ivory.
“This lot of ivory now is really mine […] I am afraid they will try to claim it as theirs […] I want no more than justice” (Page 111).
This quote goes along with the first quote. It still shows Kurtz losing himself over the Ivory and how he gave up his health and his life for the Ivory and power he felt from the natives worshipping him.
When Marlow goes to Brussels for an interview, he depicts himself as an alien who has stepped into a completely different environment. The city of Brussels makes him think of a “whited sepulcher”. He feels that he has nothing in common with the people of this European city, though he is himself, a European.
Danielle Staudte, Maria Trawick, and Katie Britton
"...and a solitude, a solitude, nobody, not a hut. The population had cleared out a long time ago."

"Cut off from everything you had once known"
Quotes supporting Marlow's Alienation and Lonliness
Marlow is alienated by the type of world he sees deep within the jungle. The technology that the Europeans (his people) have introduced to the natives do not look natural in their environment and it makes him feel uncomfortable.
Marlow and Kurtz are the only characters in the story with human names. The denial of human individuality serves as an alienating force in the story. The denial of human names to the other characters alienates them from Marlow and Kurtz and the names that they are given are symbolic. By assigning the names like "the intended" to the other characters they are merely seen as symbols in the book that effectively help tell the story.
The alienation and loneliness exhibited in this novel reflects Conrad's attempt to reveal the corruption in European imperialism as we watch Marlow develop from his original moral influenced character to a man who bends the truth.
"Your New Twin Sized Bed" by Death Cab for Cutie tells the story of someone who has been lonely for so long that they decide to throw away their queen mattress for a less spacious twin sized bed, since they didn't need the extra room anyways. We chose this song to represent loneliness in Heart of Darkness because just as the person this song focuses on and accepts their loneliness and adapts, as did the characters in this novel.
Marlow visist the doctor before seting off on his journey to Africa. The doctor can be seen as a character who casts a foreshadowing effect on what might become of Marlow after being in Africa. The doctor warns Marlow of how his mind would change due to the environment he would be exposing himself to, the doctor wondered if he might even go mad. As the doctor makes a reference to, prolonged silence and solitude play a role in the damage of the characters in this book.
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