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Heart Of Darkness. Essay

8989 words - 36 pages

ContextThe novel begins in London on board the British ship 'Nellie' which is anchored in the River Thames.An anonymous narrator listens to Marlow's tale of his journey up the Congo River together with the Director of Companies, the Accountant, and the Lawyer.What we read is the narrator's recollections of Marlow's tale.From a very young age Marlow was always fascinated with maps and in particular Africa with its large areas of unexplored territory. Through his aunt who has contacts with a Belgian Company, he is able to secure a job as a Steamboat Captain to ferry supplies on the River Congo.He eventually arrives at the Company's Outer Station in the Congo.He witnesses a scene of desolation, waste, brutality and chaos.While the local natives suffer under the yoke of colonialism, the dominant whites enjoy a comfortable existence apart from the rigors of disease and hot climate. At least they have plenty of food.He has a discussion with the Accountant who is dressed immaculately and he first learns about their best Agent, Kurtz who is in charge of the Company's Inner Station. Kurtz obtains more quality ivory than all the other agents put together.Marlow has to travel overland for some two hundred miles to reach the Company's Central Station where he will join his steamboat. On arrival he finds that it has been wrecked and has sunk. He will have to wait some time at the Central Station until the boat is salvaged and repaired.Unlike the other whites Marlow enjoys hard work and he is determined to have his boat up and running as soon as possible. He was also encouraged to come here by his aunt to help civilize the natives and bring them salvation. He is also not concerned with personal gain out of his visit to this Dark Continent.There is a suspicion that his steamboat was deliberately grounded with a view to putting pressure on Kurtz regarding the transportation of the ivory he has collected. However, Kurtz arranges for the ivory to be transported by canoe, but for reasons unknown he only accompanies the ivory to the point where it is safe and then he returns up-river to his Station.Marlow also meets the Brick maker whose position seems totally unnecessary, as he does not have any materials for making bricks, another example of waste.The local Manager's uncle arrives leading the Eldorado Exploring Expedition, which is another ruse for exploiting the land of its resources.Marlow overhears the Manager and his uncle conspiring to bring about Kurtz's downfall. The Manager fears for his own position, seeing Kurtz as a rival, but the uncle calms him by saying that the jungle will solve all their problems.Finally Marlow's boat is repaired and they travel up to Kurtz's Station.On the way they discover a stock of wood left for them by a Russian Trader who works with Kurtz, with a note telling them to be careful. Marlow also finds an English book and keeps this as a tenuous link with civilization.Just below Kurtz's camp the steamboat is attacked by natives and...

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