Heart of Darkness
Joseph Conrad’s the Heart of Darkness, takes place in a world within a world. It is a microcosm that contains dark places of the human soul (a region that Conrad vividly explores). At the ‘heart’ of this ‘planet of darkness’ is a rebel who has thrown away society as he knew it. This metaphoric ‘heart’ applies gravity to the plot. The ‘heart’ is epitomized in the character Kurtz.
Kurtz, the European ivory trader, has cast off his ties with the outside world, and has taken it upon himself to control and master his surroundings (including the natives). Kurtz represents man’s tendency to revert to animal instincts, and to exploit the weaker, (or ignorant) of the species. He becomes God to the natives, undoubtedly expanding his already crazed ego to the point of explosion. For most of the story, Kurtz is the unseen legend or myth.
I recommend this book to anyone interested in separate worlds apart from our own. It supplies (however limited) an in-depth look at an intricate sub-world of our planet. Conrad may not exhibit the intricateness of such authors as C.S. Lewis or J.R.R. Tolkien, but he definitely delves deep into the realm of creativity and human sub consciousness. Untold darkness lies within the mind of man.
Foot note: The plot for the famous film set in Vietnam (“Apocalypse Now”) is based on Heart of Darkness.