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Voyage into the Heart of Darkness
The voyage into the "Heart of Darkness" is told to us through the eyes of Charlie Marlow. As Marlow is aboard the "Nellie" he tells his story of expedition and growth. The men on the boat sit still yet bored. Marlow is like an old man sharing a story of his childhood, that for himself may be of great significance, and lead to a lesson, but the children yearn to hear a story of magic, castles and sword fights. Joseph Conrad uses Marlow's character to get across and express his own opinion.
The story Marlow shares with the other men, is a story of reflection. It is a mirror, like most experiences are. Experiences in our lives that teach us and reveal something in our lives that had to be fixed. In this case Marlow (or Conrad) uses Africa as the mirror into the hearts of early Europeans that wished to colonize and only help profit the "less unfortunate". What was it exactly that this unchartered land had in store for Marlow?
As Marlow tells his story we see and understand the situations Marlow faced. In his first encounter with the tribes men, Marlow steps into a "gloomy circle of some inferno", where dark figures surrounded him. He compares this incident with that of a massacre, the starving and wasting bodies lying in "confusion". Marlow then encounters a young black boy with a piece of white cotton string tied around his neck. This simple piece of string symbolizes the young boy's innocence. Shortly after Marlow offers the boy a biscuit, another one of the shapes approaches the river , crawling, and drinks of the water. Marlow could not stand the sight of the suffering any longer. It was as though he felt what they were feeling and just when he was willing to help, he stands up and walks away. The path where Marlow meets those that had traveled to an unknown land, and walked uncertain of where they where but sure of what they wanted, started here.
The patchwork young man ,( the Russian) is the only one in the jungle without an interest in gaining something out of the jungle, except for his own "breathing space". His devotion for Kurtz is an admiration out of ignorance and perhaps even innocence. Through the Russian Marlow learns a great deal about who Kurtz really is.
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