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A postcolonial and psychological approach to Heart of Darkness
2006 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Heart of Darkness can be analysed in terms of its focus on an historical period, imperialism, colonialism, and cultural events of the era. The theme of European’s travelling to underdeveloped, savage, and uncivilized countries is noticeable in the text, which had a wider social and artistic scope. Conrad’s works, in particular, provide a link between Victorian values and the ideals of Modernism. The novel contains a vast subject, and this thesis is not going to analyse more than two aspects: 1) The characters of Marlow and Kurtz. 2) A review of some literary criticisms, and Freud’s notion of human psyche. Marlow travels to the Congo in search of Kurtz. Eventually these two characters are transformed into different personalities at the end of the journey. Kurtz’s role in the tale is symbolically important: his dark evil face and the hollowness in himself which Marlow shares. Marlow has been compared to Kurtz in many parts of the novel, and his thoughts were obsessed with Kurtz. Marlow is faced with a critical moral dilemma. He doubted how he would evaluate Kurtz’s personality. The longer he is obsessed with Kurtz, the more he sets himself for the horror of life. Marlow disliked Kurtz’s actions, but loved his dominant power with which he controlled the Congo. The reference to Freud and to dreams is not fortuitous. Freud and Conrad were contemporaries. Freud did his work on the definitions of dreams (Interpretation of Dreams) in the 1890s, the same time that Conrad developed ideas about the Congo, through his personal and political experiences in a nightmarish world. Freud’s book appeared in 1900, only months after Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. Despite praise from many authors, such as Hemingway and Fitzgerald, Conrad’s reputation rose only after his death in 1924. Recent criticisms have divided his works into two parts: psychological analysis and political explanations. However, this thesis will try to have its own interpretation of the psychological analysis based on Freud’s techniques.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Keyword [en]
Humanities Theology, Heart of Darkness
Keyword [sv]
Humaniora, Teologi
URN: urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-43788ISRN: LTU-DUPP--06/090--SELocal ID: 19f7fdf2-1661-42c0-9bfa-ad8798bf06c9OAI: diva2:1017029
Subject / course
Student thesis, at least 15 credits
Educational program
English, master's level
Validerat; 20101217 (root)Available from: 2016-10-04 Created: 2016-10-04Bibliographically approved

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