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Four Novels--Common Theme

            The setting in a work of literature is often a symbolic indication of the inner turmoil or conflict within the main character. This setting gives the reader a clear window as to how the character feels and allows the reader to interpret the spectrum of emotions associated with the character(s). Through the analysis of Conrad's Heart of Darkness, Shelley's Frankenstein, Ishiguro's The Remains of the Day, Beckett's Waiting for Godot, and Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God, it is not difficult to draw the common thread between the five literary pieces: the setting of each propagates an emotional conflict that guides the protagonist' actions and thoughts. .
             Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness is built on two completely contrasting settings. The Congo, or "dark place,"" represents a "black space- (180) on a map, a jungle that leaves the protagonist or any other Europeans with no specific expectations. The natives are deemed to be savages by the "civilized- England, and are seen as inferior people who need the care and contribution of the "better world."" This perception leads to Marlow's inner conflict. Upon personal inspection of the Congo, Marlow begins to see how inefficient and how inept European imperialism really is. Marlow directly feels this experiences this when he sees the how savagely the English treat the natives at the Inner Station. This forces him to reconsider and to realign his perspective between the reality he experiences "the savagery and inefficiency of the English imperialism, and the myth felt by the English themselves "the belief that colonization is wonderful and best for society. Moreover, the Congo setting provides Marlow with a true view as to how shallow England's view on Kurtz is "the "idol- and "hero- (218) is nothing more than a man who has lost all civilized forms of life. Thus, the "civilized- setting, England, functions as a place that opposes everything Marlow experiences in the Congo, thus leads to the conflict Marlow feels in his perspectives and thoughts.

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