Free Essay on the Symbolic Use of Ivory in the Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

Home       Free Paper Index     

image of movie poster for the Heart of Darkness, free essay
 

Enter Your Term Paper Topic Below:

Search For Your Essay At MONSTER ESSAYS!

  1. Essay Galaxy Archive, 45,000 + essays and term papers (highest quality)
  2. Monster Essay Archive, 40,000+ essays and term papers  
  3. Essay Archive, 35,000+ essays and term papers
  4. Free Term Papers and Book Reports Index  (Over 2500 good papers)

Free Essay on the Symbolic Use of Ivory in the Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad



In Heart of Darkness Joseph Conrad often uses vague,"muted" descriptions, leaving a melange of possible meanings in the reader's lap. One exception to this trend is Conrad's symbolic use of ivory. Within the frame of the story, his references to ivory can obviously be seen as a representation of the white man's greed. Towards the end of the book ivory comes to symbolize the oozing evil that drips from the heart of darkness.
It isn't long before Conrad makes a commentary on the greed of the whites. By the thirty-seventh page via Marlow associates them with a "false religion." He says that the men at the Central Station are, "like a lot of faithless pilgrims bewitched inside a rotten fence. Pilgrims are usually people who travel to a holy place, so why the choice of words? Conrad further explains in the following lines when he says, "The word 'ivory' rang in the air, was whispered, was sighed. You would think they were praying to it." In their rapacity the "pilgrims" have placed ivory as their God, a realization that has greater meaning towards the end of the book.
The significance of ivory begins to move away from avarice and takes on a purely evil connotation as Marlow approaches those hearts of darkness: the Inner Station and Kurtz. Kurtz's relationship with ivory seems to have been reiterated by every company member through the course of the story. Of course Kurtz "harvested" more ivory than all the other stations combined, and therefore it almost seems appropriate that Conrad would use extensive ivory imagery in describing Kurtz. Earlier, during his digression on Kurtz, Marlow says, "The wilderness had patted him on the head, and, behold, it was like a ball—an ivory ball". By the time that Kurtz is carried out on a stretcher the evil has so overtaken him that, "I could see the cage of his ribs all astir, the bones of his arms waving. It was as though an animated image of death carved out of old ivory had been shaking its hand with menaces at a motionless crowd of men made of dark and glittering bronze". The evil has now grown to encompass his entire body, and soul. Kurtz's lust for ivory is recounted by the Russian. Once he threatened to shoot the Russian, who was squirreling a small quantity of ivory—"because he could do so, and had a fancy for it, and there was nothing on earth to prevent him from killing whom he jolly well pleased." The almost god-like power that Kurtz wields is unchecked, save for disease.
In Heart of Darkness ivory plays a dual role in significance. On one hand it is representative of evil and greed, and on the other, it is representative of the measures taken to acquire it in the first place (i.e. mistreatment of blacks). Conrad's use of ivory in order to symbolize darkness is also in keeping with his occasional reversal of the colors normally associated with good and evil, white and black. Ivory as a material is one of the purest and whitest found in nature, while Kurtz's soul is purely black.

--------------------------------------------------------------




















1. The Heart Of Darkness: Two Revolving Desires
In the novel Heart of Darkness, by Joseph Conrad, two characters can be defined as main characters. The two characters are Charles Marlow and Kurtz. Usually a novel contains only one main characte
2. Heart Of Darkness 2
Joseph Conrad, like many authors, used his own experiences for the basis of his novels. Specifically, Conrad's journey on the Congo River as captain of a West African river steamer formed the 
3. Importance Of Restraint In Lord Of The Flies And Heart Of Darkness
Throughout Lord of the Flies and Heart of Darkness the importance of restraint is greatly stressed. This being the restraint to remain human and maintain sanity. In Heart of Darkness, Marlow was 
4. Heart Of Darkness: Mystery And Suspense
It seems like everywhere there is something in life that seems to be left behind. In the books I read about mystery or suspense, this always seems to be the case in such. The Heart of Darkness dra
5. Lord Of The Flies: Golding Reduces The Power Of His Message
I think that, while the boys experience immense bad luck due to the author, the story still proves its point. It is still possible though, that the bad luck of the boys could have been experienced i
6. Lord Of The Flies: Golding Reduces The Power Of His Message
I think that, while the boys experience immense bad luck due to the author, the story still proves its point. It is still possible though, that the bad luck of the boys could have been experienced i
7. Heart Of Darkness 13
In literature, contrasting places are used by certain authors as a way of representing opposed forces or ideas that are central to the meaning of the work. We see this used in Heart Of Darkness by J
8. Heart Of Darkness: The Symbol Of Ivory
In Heart of Darkness Joseph Conrad often uses vague,?muted? descriptions, leaving a melange of possible meanings in the reader's lap. One exception to this trend is Conrad's symbolic use of ivory. W
9. Artificial Restraints In Lord
"GOLDING PUTS SO MANY ARTIFICIAL RESTRAINTS ON HIS STORY IN ORDER TO EMPHASISE HIS POINT, THAT THE WHOLE THING COMES OUT TOO NEATLY AND, IN FACT, REDUCES THE POWER OF HIS MESSAGE." I think that, whil
10. Heart Of Darkness: Heart Of Controversy
Chinua Achebe believes that Joseph Conrad's Heart Of Darkness is racist based on Conrad's descriptions of Africa and it's people. Achebe, author of Things Fall Apart, stresses Conrad's depiction of
11. Heart Of Darkness Kurtz Accord
The Last Disciple: Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness When a man's life is the sea he has much time to think about that life and who he really is or might be. In Heart of Darkness Joseph
12. Heart Of Darkness 5
The infinite battle between good and evil can destroy, refine, or rebuild the human soul by means of choice. However, good is stronger than evil and someday, the power of good will dominate. In the
13. Heart Of Darkness 5
The infinite battle between good and evil can destroy, refine, or rebuild the human soul by means of choice. However, good is stronger than evil and someday, the power of good will dominate. In the
14. A Journey Into The Heart Of Da
rkness The white man is evil, or so says Joseph Conrad in his novel Heart of Darkness, which describes the colonial transformation of the symbolically angelic African wilderness into an evil haven fo
15. Comparison Of Heart Of Darknes
The natives in the Heart of Darkness and Things Fall Apart were similar in many ways. In both novels white people came into their land and disrupted their society. The white people in both books l
16. Lord Of The Flies - Good And Evil: Fight To The Finish
William?s Lord of the Flies, (1954) an Conrad?s Heart of Darkness, (1902) there are affective comparisons and contrasts between the protagonist and the antagonist. Even though the protagonist and t
17. Heart Of Darkness 2
A lie is an untruth. It can be a false statement or a statement left unsaid which causes someone to be misled. In life lies are told for many different reasons. In fiction they thicken the plot. In 
18. Two Themes That Affect Marlow And Kurtz In Heart Of Darkness
There are many themes that run through the novel Heart of Darkness. There are however two main and significant ones. These are the theme of restraint and man's journey into self. The importance of 
19. Imagery In Macbeth
In his plays, Shakespeare uses many forms of imagery. Many forms of his imagery are used in his play ?Macbeth,? including the forms of clothing and darkness. Each detail in his imagery, it seems to m
20. Macbeth: Imagery
In his plays, Shakespeare uses many forms of imagery. Many forms of his imagery are used in his play `Macbeth,' including the forms of clothing and darkness. Each detail in his imagery, it seems to m