Okay, some of this seems like a real stretch, but it was an English teacher who tried (fairly unsuccessfully) to convince us that this stuff is right, so...
Black natives with white souls are contrasted with White
men with black souls- Black here represents evil or the
knowledge of evil- the Black men dont hide their evil from
themselves or others behind a facade of good (white). Or
something like that, anyway.
White string around the starving Black boys neck- In the field of dying blacks, the dude with the white little thingy around his neck- The white string being around his neck represents his being drawn into the white mans world, the white string is a collar, a stranglehold.
These are fairly confusing, and most of them really seem a
stretch, but once again, if they help w/ an essay, thats
what theyre here for...
Yellow- sickness, cowardice, un-civilization, corruption, decay; On Company map- uncivilized and contaminated by ivory trade (Sure, why not?)
Green- life, growth, new things (This makes sense- doesnt seem TOO much a stretch.)
Blue- serenity, peace
Brown- coming closer to black, but not quite there
Black- knowledge of evil, loss of innocence
Gray- ambiguity, emotionless, puzzling
Paleness- death, weakness (Not exactly a color, but oh, well.)
Blinding sunshine- the truth is so stark and painful;
the Company works under the guise of enlightening the natives,
and that blinds people from the truth- that theyre there to
Candles- the brickmaker who didnt make bricks had them- feeble light, status or wealth, worthless status
Grass- Marlows predecessor, Fresleven, s skeleton was overgrown w/ grass when Marlow found it- represents how nature overcomes man, takes back whats hers
Flies (the huge, buzzing kind)- Marlows reaction to Africa- its new, and hes appalled by what he sees. (If anyone can find where this was, let us know- our copy of Heart of Darkness was taken back by our English teacher. They may have been at the station where Marlow met the Companys Chief Accountant.)
Flies (the small, swarming kind)- acceptance, Africa is more comfortable for Marlow; callousness (Same as above, except that we have no idea where this was- either right after Kurtz death, or some time in Chapter 2 or 3...)
Ivory- greed, corruption, selfish ambition, lust for power, etc.
The jungle- knowledge, the truth, understanding of evil (Trees make up a forest, and trees are mostly green and brown- life, growth, new things, as well as the beginning to learn of evil- personal growth as Marlow sees the evil inherent to the human soul, or some nonsense like that.)
Pail- the one the fat agent fights the fire in the supply shed with- futility (Remember it- it had holes in it?)
Sealing wax- used to hold stuff together (No idea where that one is, but it sounds like it could maybe be important...)
Shoes- comfort, responsibility, protection (Consider the meaning in Marlow giving that Russian fellow a pair of shoes, and his throwing his blood-soaked ones into the river after the boat is attacked.)
Oil painting- Kurtz painting- black woman blindfolded carrying a torch- Reveals that the blacks had the truth, but the white men are blinding them to it in their attempt to get ivory. (The teacher said that it was Kurtzs painting of his black mistress, but we dont see how you can make that assumption.)
Rivets- hold things together- Marlow couldnt get them from the Company, representing how the Company is letting Things Fall Apart; on a somewhat different topic- a way of controlling and manipulating Marlow, and through Marlow, Kurtz.
Water- loss of innocence, passage into knowledge and the world, rebirth
As stated before, this is by no means a definitive source of symbols- it is merely some basic stuff. We hope it helps.
Okay, enough of THAT- though more might be added later on-
Back to the main Essay Help Page.