Abstract from “Apocalypse Now and Avatar’s relationship to Heart of Darkness” essay by Toby Woollaston – 2010

In this essay I will establish some of the major themes in Heart of Darkness are and how they are dealt with by both Avatar (2009) and Apocalypse Now (1979). There has been a lot written about Conrad’s Heart of Darkness and with it has come many interpretations regarding the various themes within the text. Thematically central to Heart of Darkness is the negative impact of colonial imperialism and mans journey into self. It could also be argued that Heart of Darkness’s curious absence of overtly gender treated issues and the vacuous undercurrent it leaves, in a sense, is just what makes this work a statement on gender. However, in this essay I wish to focus briefly on imperialism (including virtual colonialism), and then more specifically examine the theme of technology and in particular how it relates to “the horror” that Kurtz sees. I maintain that these themes are central to all three works but are often treated in fundamentally different and contradicting ways. In exploring technology I will follow closely what German philosopher, Martin Heidegger, has to say about the topic and how this relates to any kind of solution that may or may not be echoed and illustrated in either Apocalypse Now and Avatar.

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