Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Heart of Darkness: Cover Letter

Dear Mr. Gallagher,

My poem, “The Earth Seemed Unearthly,” was an attempt to look at the development of theme throughout the book. The overarching idea I noted was that appearances could be deceiving, an idea that manifested itself both in smaller themes and characters, ie, Kurtz. It was this idea that connected my 3 sections together, making it one cohesive poem.

Specifically, I chose to focus on darkness in poem one, savagery in poem two, and the relationship between humans and the earth in poem three, each of these corresponding to the part in the story. Darkness conveyed the suspicions of people’s dark motives, in relation even to Marlow who seems to question his own choices after the fact.

Savagery focused on the irony of the imperialists’ own savagery. They spoke of the savagery of the Africans within the Congo merely because their culture and society differed from their own. Those presented as “civil” are ironically exemplified as savage through their inhuman treatment of the Congolese, chaining them i.e., and mechanizing the natural beauty of the jungle.

The last section was more than anything a comment on Kurtz, who was developed in greater detail in the last section of the book. A refined man, with many skills and good qualities as noted by the Belgium and his fiancée, on the surface Kurtz appeared noble in his explorations. Although perhaps initially just, Kurtz hoped to churn the land in order to spread European civilization and refinement. However, his plans degenerated as greed and brutality overshadowed his original motivations. I focused on this character development in the last section, especially in context to the overarching result: as men took it upon themselves to “civilize” the land, it was the land that ultimately had an effect on men.
Tzivia Halperin

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