Heart of Darkness

“The conquest of the earth, which mostly means the taking it away from those who have a different complexion or slightly flatter noses than ourselves, is not a pretty thing when you look into it too much. What redeems it is the idea only. An idea at the back of it; not a sentimental pretense but an idea; and an unselfish belief in the idea — something you can set up, and bow down before, and offer a sacrifice to…”

In an almost poetic manner, Marlow presents the basis for which conquerors wreck havoc on those they deem weaker than them. Their actions are based on an idea they have been ingrained with to follow so as not to scrutinize and keep at bay the dark truth lurking underneath.

Marlow’s Storytelling

“Between us there was, as I have already said somewhere, the bond of the sea.” (Kindle version, 2%)

“It was only months and months afterwards, when I made the attempt to recover what was left of the body, that I heard the original quarrel arose from a misunderstanding about some hens.” (Kindle version, 8%)

Marlow is not only ‘inconclusive’ but also tells his stories out of order, presenting details out of context and then passing over them even when more context and detail is needed, and wanted by the reader.

Heart of Darkness

“‘You are of the new gang–the gang of virtue. The same people who sent him specially also recommended you. Oh, don’t say no. I’ve my own eyes to trust.’ Light dawned upon me. My dear aunt’s influential acquaintances were producing an unexpected effect upon that young man. I nearly burst into a laugh. ‘Do you read the Company’s confidential correspondence?’ I asked. He hadn’t a word to say. It was great fun.”

Joseph Conrad, “Heart of Darkness”, in Heart of Darkness and Other Tales (New York: Oxford University Press Inc., 2002), 127.

This passage made me laugh and interested me for two reasons. One, you can really see the type of person Marlow is because of his sense of humor that is called upon here. It is kind of a witty, mischievous humor at the sake of this brick-making man. It was interesting also to see the effect one person had on the opinions everyone else. The boss was praised and used as a judgment of others. Because Marlow came from the same place, he must also be as good as Mr. Kurtz. It is quite interesting.

Heart of Darkness

“‘They were conquerors, and for that you want only brute force–nothing to boast of, when you have it, since your strength is just an accident arising from the weakness of others.'”

Joseph Conrad, “Heart of Darkness”, in Heart of Darkness and Other Tales (New York: Oxford University Press Inc., 2002), 107.

Marlow takes the power away from the conquerors by pointing it out that they only appear strong because they pick on the weak. He makes them seem like petty bullies rather than “conquerors.”