There are a number of ways to consider the meaning of the title on its own or as it relates to the story. You may or may not be aware that Africa was frequently referred to as the "Dark Continent," and Conrad was almost certainly aware of that. The darkness of the continent could refer to its unknown quality or the darkness of the people who resided there. (Remember that the book takes place during a period of colonialism and great racism, and "darkness" in this context might very well have racist overtones today.)
Another interpretation of the title that you might want to consider is the darkness of men's souls, which could refer to their lack of morality, the darkness of insanity, or the cruelty of colonialism. Remember also that this is a trip upriver, and the source of a river might be considered its "heart," hence the destination might be the source or heart of the darkness of Africa or the men who colonized it.
Darkness might refer to the darkness of the insanity that the narrator finds at his destination, the darkness of the treatment that he observes on his way upriver, or the despair of the Africans who are so horribly mistreated. When you consider the plot of the entire book, there is little that could not be reasonably called dark.
Heart of Darkness in Relation to its Title Essay
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The Parallel meaning of the novella with its title- Heart of Darkness The title, Heart of Darkness, aptly chosen, can be very strongly linked to the novel. IT can be used to describe Joseph Conrad’s views on civilization, the individual mind and the land into which he ventures. These sum up his opinions on the bourgeoise society, uncivilized society and the faults of human nature, linking them to the land under one common theme and thus establishing the title. ‘Heart of Darkness’ can most noticeably describe Marlow’s journey into the heart of the land. A dominant symbol in the novel is of the river- the snake- “But there was in it one river especially, a mighty big river, that you could see on the map, resembling an immense snake…show more content…
Surrounded by dark jungle and distant mist, he knows his journey will be a blind one, one where he is new and possibly unwelcome. Also, by saying he felt he was headed towards the center of the earth rather than the continent, he refers to the earth’s core, where in religion and folklore hell resides. With this, all he knows about his impending journey is that it will be a voyage into chaos and, ultimately, death. Where the setting depicts heading into the heart of darkness, one can only begin to grasp the relationship of inside to outside, of hell to the norm. This is even existent in civilization as well as individuals, who are hosted and somewhat intensified by Conrad’s use of the land. Although Conrad wrote this novella before the psychological era of Freud (and in some cases Jung), the two shared many similarities. Relating to the phrase “Heart of Darkness,” Freud believed everyone was born primitive, and in some senses, there is always a primitive aspect waiting to be shown, being covered up in a constant struggle to keep it locked away inside. This could be called their ‘heart of darkness,’ and can be seen in three key