How Successful Are Conrad’s and Golding’s in Revealing Man’s Heart of Darkness Within Their Texts?

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Looking back on the history of humankind, there is an eminent pattern of atavistic and truculent behaviour in almost all people groups. From the earliest ages of the hunter-gatherer society to the pinnacle of modern civilisation, humans have possessed the same primal instincts to subdue and subjugate. Authors such as William Golding and Joseph Conrad have recognised this basic nature of humanity and portrayed it in their novels Lord of the Flies (Golding) and Heart of Darkness (Conrad). These novels exemplify the methods by which humans have placed checks upon their savage nature, checks which prove to be diaphanous when challenged by true hardships. In both of these stories, the authors attempt to demonstrate the savage nature of the human spirit by utilising symbolism and irony. Both Lord of the Flies and Heart of Darkness are intensely allegorical novels and emphasise the use of symbols. However, these symbols are not merely the characters, but also include their actions and the settings of the stories. For example, the characters of Kurtz and Jack are symbols for the ancestral instincts of humankind. Though they are two separate characters, they are both symbols for the same idea. They are contrasted with Marlow and Ralph, who are also separate apparitions of the same philosophy. Kurtz, the quintessential ivory hunter from Heart of Darkness, is consumed by the desire for ivory and allows his primal nature to dictate his actions. He even goes so far as to proclaim himself a god and order the natives to attack his fellow Europeans. “He informed me, lowering his voice, that it was Kurtz who had ordered the attack to be made on the steamer” (Conrad.145). This shows how far Kurtz had fallen, that he, like Lucifer, would prefer to reign in hell (the Congo) than serve in heaven (Europe). Likewise, Jack, the chief of the hunter clan in Lord of the Flies,…...

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