In his novel, Heart of Darkness, author Joseph Conrad utilizes metaphor in order to symbolize the mistreatment of natives through imperialization.
The proposed killing of business rivals such as Kurtz is compared with the killing and abuse of the natives through saying anything can be done in this country.
“We will not be free from unfair competition till one of these fellows is hanged for an example,”--”Why not? Anything--anything can be done in this country.”
The “Uncle” waving his arm seemingly towards the rest of the country is a metaphor for the practitioners of imperialism taking ownership of land and resources that are truly not theirs.
“I saw him extend his short flipper of an arm for a gesture that took in the forest, the creek, the mud, the river--seemed to beckon with a dishonouring flourish before the sunlit face of the land a treacherous appeal to the lurking death, to the hidden evil, to the profound darkness of its heart.”
This metaphor equates the animals to the human imperialists. Since they were not native and were brought over to exploit the congo for its resources they deserved to die. Marlow believed this to be true for humans as well.
“Long afterwards the news came that all the donkeys were dead.I know nothing as to the fate of the less valuable animals. They, no doubt, like the rest of us, found what they deserved.”
This quote brings up the central theme of the novel, darkness. In all of its warmth and glory the sun cannot overshadow the cruelty and exploitation brought on by colonists.
“There was no joy in the brilliance of sunshine.”
Imagery depicting the Congo River as a long stretch of darkness. Darkness being the depletion of natural resources that natives live on, facilitated by transport on the river.
“The long stretches of the waterway ran on, deserted, into the gloom of overshadowed distances.”