Heart of Darkness

“These round knobs were not ornamental, but symbolic; they were expressive and puzzling, striking and disturbing–food for thought and also for the vultures if there had been any looking down from the sky; but at all events for such ants as were industrious enough to ascent the pole. They would have been even more impressive, those heads on the stakes, if their faces had not been turned to the house.”

James Conrad, “Heart of Darkness,” in Heart of Darkness and Other Tales (New York, Oxford University Press: 2008), 164.

Conrad uses excess fillers that undermine and delay the fact that Marlow is describing severed heads on stakes, not decorations. Through Marlow’s narration, Conrad describes something grotesque and inhumane as if he’s critiquing someone’s home┬ádecor.