Even before he embarks on his journey, the mysteries of the jungle have fully enraptured Marlow: “There’s no initiation either into such mysteries. He has to live in the midst of the incomprehensible, which is also detestable. And it has a fascination, too, that goes to work upon him. The fascination of the abomination-you know, imagine the growing regrets, the longing to escape, the powerless disgust, the surrender, the hate,” (69). As Marlow continues his journey, he becomes exposed to racism he never expected.
He witnesses the native Congolese that have been forced into labor, and he beholds the bigotry that Mr. Kurtz radiates. Throughout the narrative, Marlow seems almost hungry to tell the story of the horrors he beheld: “‘Do you see him? Do you see the story? Do you see anything? It seems to me I am trying to tell you a dream-making a vain attempt, because no relation of a dream can convey the dream-sensation, that commingling of absurdity, surprise, and bewilderment in a tremor of struggling revolt, that notion of being captured by the incredible which is of the very essence of dreams….
‘” (97). However, by the end of the story Marlow has taken on a portrayal of apathy, mostly once he had returned to European society: “Their bearing, which was simply the bearing of commonplace individuals going about their business in the assurance of a perfect safety, was offensive to me like the outrageous flauntings of folly in the face of a danger it is unable to comprehend. I had no particular desire to enlighten them, but I had some difficulty in restraining myself from laughing in their faces so full of stupid importance,” (156).
From the beginning to the end of his story, Marlow has displayed significant personality changes. After observing blatant racism through Kurtz and other characters, Marlow no longer seems to have the intense desire to “enlighten them”; it seems as though he has lost faith in mankind to the point where he believes it is pointless to share his discoveries. His emotional journey leads him to a state of disgust and apathy. The relevance of the personal journeys of these two characters lies in that two completely different authors with unlike backgrounds produced novels with similar messages.
Both Morrison and Conrad held the beliefs that a racist society and/or the presence of a racially corrupted character in one’s life can change even the basics of one’s personality. Throughout Beloved, a reader can observe Beloved as a corrupt character because she fails to recognize the pains of others; instead she succumbs to the desire for revenge and selfishly takes control over primarily Sethe’s but also Denver’s life. Furthermore, Marlow’s attitudes and personality changes are derived from his exposure to the corrupt character of Kurtz, an entity that caused Marlow to lose faith in humanity.
Both of these corrupt characters stem from the society they each live in, societies broken down by the terrible effects of slavery. At several points both novels have a tone that leaves the reader with a feeling of disdain for the institution of slavery and the evils that it has imposed upon societies around the world for many centuries. The authors’ attitudes leave strong impressions on the reader, which further successfully cause a feeling of pity for the characters negatively affected by slavery.
Toni Morrison and Joseph Conrad have fashioned two seemingly unlike novels, though there are connections between the emotional paths of important characters in each one. Novels of self-discovery and change are often designed by the author to illuminate how societal influence or corruption causes the change within the individual; Beloved and Heart of Darkness are novels that successfully exemplify this intention. Show preview only The above preview is unformatted text This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Joseph Conrad section.