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Animal Imagery and Religious Symbolism in Joseph Conrad's
Växjö University, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, School of Humanities.
2001 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

The purpose of this essay is to investigate how Joseph Conrad has used animal imagery and religious symbolism in “Heart of Darkness,” and determine if these tools are somehow linked to the theme of the story. Close reading has been applied in order to be able to go through the entire story in search of these often well-hidden tools. Considering the fact that the story in focus of the analysis is believed by some, including myself, to be a long short story rather than a short novel, this method of approach has proved to be highly useful. First a discussion about a possible theme in “Heart of Darkness” is presented, followed by a brief comment on Conrad’s personal life philosophy and view on the use of symbolic devices in literary works. In order to determine the differences between symbols and imagery, as well as theme, subject and topic, a short discussion of terminology has been included.

Much of the discussion in the analysis relies heavily upon articles and books by critics who have focused exclusively on symbolism and imagery in “Heart on Darkness” and other works by Conrad. The scholarly names worth mentioning in connection with the discussion about animal imagery are Olof Lagercrantz, John A. Palmer, and Samir Elbarbary. The critics Anthony Fothergill and Cedric Watts explore religious symbolism in general, whereas P.K. Saha and Rita A. Bergenholtz focus on particular aspects of it, such as Buddhism and Greek mythology.

The analysis section is for the most part a combination between my own personal interpretations of “Heart of Darkness” and those made by others. It is divided into two major sections, Animal Imagery and Religious Symbolism. The latter, furthermore, comprises two subgroups. The conclusion suggests that Conrad used symbolism and imagery as narratological tools in order to present us with the theme of morality in the story.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2001. , p. 37
Keywords [en]
Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness, Marlow, Buddha gestures, knitting women, animal imagery, the Congo, religious symbolism
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URN: urn:nbn:se:vxu:diva-536OAI: oai:DiVA.org:vxu-536DiVA, id: diva2:206844
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humaniora/teologi
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Available from: 2001-05-01 Created: 2001-05-01 Last updated: 2018-01-13Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
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