Period 5 Literature
The Journey of Initiation
The journey of initiation for the unknown narrator in “The Hollow Men” and Kurtz and Marlow in Heart of Darkness creates a picture of the corrupt worlds they live in. In both stories these characters have to go through a journey of initiation, where they truly see that power, greed and other sins can create “demons.”
Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad is about the corruption of man and the darkness within. In this novella there are two main characters that go through the journey of initiation. The story is mainly focused on the development of Marlow. His trip to the Congo is not just to retrieve a crazed ivory collector, but eventually to view the world from another perspective, the assessment of the immoral values humans gain through power.
Marlow’s perspective on Kurtz’s state of mind opens his eyes to the idea that power can sometimes lead a person to madness. Marlow’s naïve outlook on life is modified by his “adventure.” He changes as he watches Kurtz wither away because of his greed for power. Marlow sees that darkness can change a person. Marlow’s perception changes him. Perception becomes his reality.
It is evident that by the end of his journey, Marlow is inducted into a world of madness and confusion. Not only is his inner self affected by this new information but his physical appearance is affected also. “He had sunken cheeks, a yellow complexion, a straight back…” (66) He has been initiated into a world unbeknownst to him at the beginning but all too real by the end.
Another journey in Heart of Darkness is that of Mr. Kurtz. His experiences in the Congo create his power hungry greed and savage outlook on life. “`I had immense plans…’” (148) While he is dying he realizes how he has wasted opportunity. He becomes greedy and obsessed with an idea, and only an idea, of power. Though he does not realize how much he has changed on this voyage of...