Heart of Darkness

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Light, unlike in A Christmas Carol, is not necessarily virtuous in Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. The narrator is on Nellie, and beginning at sunset, Marlow suddenly starts, “And this also has been one of the dark places of the earth,” (pg. 2, para. 5) while stranded on the flooded Thames River. He tells about his dark journey to the heart of darkness (outside meaning the center of Africa). He takes over another person’s responsibility to visit the Interior and meets two women knitting black yarn. He then meets a doctor who asks if there was "ever any madness in [Marlow's] family," (pg. 9, para. 1). Later, he hears that Kurtz, the man he is meeting, is a man of greatness and it sounds like he has more ivory than any others in the world. Marlow also informs us that he scorns lies. He finally sets off and into the journey, and on the way there, they have several delays and one anticipated attack on their ship, killing a helmsman. Marlow finally arrives at the station, and meets a person that reminded him of a harlequin. The harlequin told him that Kurtz “enlarged [his] mind,” (pg. 48, para. 2) and that people don’t talk with Kurtz, they listen to him. He then hears snippets of conversation from Kurtz: “Save me! –save the ivory, you mean…Why, I’ve had to save you. You are interrupting my plans now. Sick! Sick! Not so sick as you would like to believe. Never mind. I’ll carry my ideas out yet—I will return. I’ll show you what can be done… I will return. I…” The night before they plan to take Kurtz away, he tries to run away so he cannot be taken away by Marlow and the Company. He does not succeed; however, because he is already weak and frail from sickness and madness, and Marlow finds him and successfully takes him to the ship. Ha...

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...rator says, “Marlow ceased, and sat apart, indistinct and silent, in the pose of a meditating Buddha,” (pg. 70, para. 10).
I give this book five out of ten stars because Conrad uses too much circumlocution and the beginning was unbearably dragging. I had to read it three times through to get what Conrad meant half of the book. Kurtz being Jupiter, Marlow being the Buddha, and the whole purpose of the book getting turned upside down are all part of the scheme behind the story. Later, Marlow meets “the Intended,” who is Kurtz’s fiancée, and she claims that “I knew him best” (pg. 68, para. 4) “He needed me! Me!” (pg. 69, para. 16). When she wants to know what Kurtz’s last words were, Marlow lied because “It would have been too dark—too dark altogether….” (pg. 70, para. 9) and said they were her name, and she painfully replies, “I knew it—I was sure!” (pg. 70, para. 9).

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