Shed fire symbolism

In the novella, Heart of Darkness, the author, Joseph Conrad, exposes symbolically, a country wrongfully being raided for resources through a shed fire scene. The shed fire, “already in a heap of embers”(166), represent inhumane issues in countries, created by “[gang’s] of virtue”(169), symbolic of western powers. These impecunious countries are being pillaged for their finite resources. An example is Africa, being harvested for oil by greedy oil companies, with their only help coming from those who use “a hole in the bottom of [their] pail”(166), to put out a fire. There are people trying to help but unfortunately doing nothing to resolve these unruly issues. The fire, “had been hopeless from the very first”(166) and their efforts did nothing to help the Africans regain their independence. These western powers “were conquerers”, only causing an “accident arising from the weakness of others”(140).


Conrad, Joseph. (1998) Heart of darkness. In C. Watts (Eds.) Heart of Darkness and Other Tales. (pp. 133-252) New York: Oxford University Press.


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