Prompt #6: Entering the heart of darkness…

Posted in prompts at 2:16 am by Dominique

Dear all,

I’m looking forward to having more time to discuss the remainder of Heart of Darkness with you when we return on Thursday, October 6th. Our two main bloggers for this next week have an especially important job, as their posts will keep our conversation going while we are away from class. Terry Hong and Jose Ruiz have volunteered to blog this week.

We’re going to try something slightly different during this round of blogs. Terry will respond to the following questions (in about 500-550 words): “How are Africa and its inhabitants represented in this text? Are there ways in which descriptions of the non-natives (those linked to the military outposts) feel incomplete, ironic, or suspect? Please provide at least three examples from the text to support your response.”

Jose will respond to the following questions (in about 500-550 words): “How is Charlie Marlow represented in this text? How would you describe the way in which this story is narrated? (i.e. What does it mean to say that Heart of Darkness is a “story within a story”?) What aspects of Marlow’s narration might seem worth noting for a deconstructionist critic, and why?  Please provide at least three examples from the text to illustrate your response.”

Both bloggers may account for as much of they text as they have read at the point when they compose their posts. They may only want to comment on the first section, though they may also move beyond it.

Commentators should choose one of these two sets of questions and expand upon the main blogger’s response in a reply of 150-200 words.

As usual, posts are due for bloggers by this coming Monday at midnight, and for commentators by Wednesday, Oct. 5th, at midnight.

As you continue to read Conrad’s novel, please use this extra time off to email me if you encounter trouble with language, symbolism, plot details, or applying deconstruction to arrive at an interpretation of the novel. I am also happy to set up an appointment to meet with your during office hours (Thursday, 11 am-1 pm) on the day we return.

Enjoy the long weekend and I look forward to seeing you in a week!


Print Friendly, PDF & Email


  1.    jruiz104 said,

    October 3, 2011 at 8:39 pm

    Jose Ruiz
    Part 1
    In the story “Heart of Darkness” it talks about Marlow and four other passengers embarking to Thames hoping to find trade and exploration. Charles Marlow was described as the only man who still followed the sea. He was also described as a wander. In the quote “he was the only man who still followed the sea” In my opinion, he was the only man who knew something; in this case he knew a story. As a deconstructionist critic, I thought Marlow narration throughout this text was facing Reality vs. Dreaming. “No, it is impossible to convey the life sensation of any given epoch of one’s existence that which makes its truth, its meaning, and its subtle and penetrating essence.” I thought it was saying Marlow can’t continue to follow the sea and he must live in reality. In his mind he began to think about the how conqueror dominated over the weakness of others. The narrator also describes Marlow, being fascinated with maps when he was a chap. He wanted to visited places in South America, Africa or even Australia. The imagery of a snake being uncoiled got him to remember a company that does trading on that river. He describes it as the center of darkness. He asks his aunt to write a letter to the company that operates steamboats. He got the job by the company just because one of their captains had been killed by a native and they were in need of someone who knew the sea. “I arrived in a city that always makes me think of a whited sepulcher” In this quote, I thought Marlow was describing the city being in darkness. In other words the city was strict and people had to obey orders. Once he heard that Kurtz was ill he had to wait until the boat was fixed to pick him up and return back to the station. On that journey there, Marlow and his 60 men were attacked by native. Once he arrived to his destination he founded out that Kurtz didn’t want to leave and he had ordered the native attack the Marlow and his boat. I took this as Kurtz didn’t want to go back to European society. Eventually, Marlow got him on the boat and headed toward the company station. The Heart of Darkness is a story within a story because Marlow witnessed suffering and it also symbolizes racism. He sees African Americans obeying and working to white orders; however, there is nothing that he can do. The way in which the story is narrated I concluded that Marlow was telling a story to the four passengers what he witnessed and experiences when he was a captain of a steamboat.

  2.    terrylghong said,

    October 3, 2011 at 10:28 pm

    So why did Joseph Conrad choose Africa? What did Africa represent? According to the text (Page8), one of the reasons is “the interior of Africa have been represented by cartographers as a mysterious white blankness.” The other reason tales of polar exploration had equated white blankness with unknown and explores of white wildness with true heroism.” In other words, they assumed, after all, Africa was full of blank space, full of voids that the paternal Europeans could fill with commerce and religious conversion (page102). The text well illustrated the problem of imperialism happened at that time. The Europeans were taking control of people and markets in Congo, a heart of the Africa. Some of them would kill people for ivory. So what about the native inhabitants? Most of them were slaves. They were basically working for nothing other than some pieces of brass wire. They were starving all the time. Besides just some rotten hippo meat, they would consider killing and eating each other (page55). They were not treated as a human, not even an animal. They were skinny, naked (See Picture at page 106) or beaten to half dead in most of the case (See Picture at page116). For Instance, one of the natives is accused of causing the fire and is beaten very badly and disappeared after that (could be dead and they left him in the tall grass). However, I did see the native fought back somehow. They did have rebellious thoughts in their minds. For example, one of the natives could not bear his father getting hit mercilessly by Marlow’s predecessor because of a quarrel over some hens. He stabbed the predecessor to dead with his spear. And the cannibals attacked Marlow’s ship and killed some of his crew members.

    There were two main characters in the story. One was Marlow, the other was Kurtz. Marlow was one of the narrators in this story. He had very rich experience in the sea. He was decent and open-minded. Unlike others, he wasn’t coming Congo for money but to explore the darkness of the heart. He did realize it was not right to treat the local people in such a harsh way. Kurtz in the other hand was like a king in the local area. He was the man who collected the most ivory in this country. He had the power to command the local cannibals and had his own mistress. The irony of Kurtz was he became an overwhelmed and greedy person and finally turned him into an evil, an evil with a “dark heart”. As we all known, evil won’t have a good ending. He died at the end because of illness.

  3.    Dominique said,

    October 5, 2011 at 3:02 pm

    Thank you, Jose and Terry. Can others take the examples our main bloggers have included in their responses and move toward discussing how the dream/reality and cultured/savage “binaries” in this text are complicated or undermined?

  4.    beezy said,

    October 5, 2011 at 4:07 pm

    I think Terry did a very good job analyzing the questions posed regarding ‘The Heart of Darkness’. From the very beginning, early on as the preface, Africa, at the time, was a secret so to speak . As shown in the reading, “the interior of Africa have been represented by cartographers as a mysterious white blankness.”, suggesting that more than likely, nobody had made it that far. Marlowe and his crew embark on a journey, in a distant land, very unfamiliar to them, with no idea what could happen next. Along the way they come across exploitation for the hot-commodity, ivory, by Kurtz, who will stop at nothing to have it. The use and abuse of native’s, whom were subjected to slavery. Resistance, cannibalism. Appalling sights to the untrained eye. Could it all be a dream? Or is it reality? Perhaps one would have trouble distinguishing something so simple after “The Horror!” (Kurtz), they’ve seen. Disease could also lead to delusion. The loss of a level-head through inexplicable atrocities witnessed going up the Congo to this ‘Heart of Darkness’. The so called Cultured-man is oppressing these ‘Savages’ through slavery, unbearable hours/conditions, starvation, torture, be-heading, and Death. To a degree, there really isn’t much culture present in this land filled with turmoil. The natives way of life is destroyed due to colonization of their land. Rebellion could rise up at any time, in any place, and with just-cause. Kurtz, the man Marlowe was particularly interested to meet, turns out to be a savage. His brutal raids in search of ivory, severed heads to ward off any potential threat coming his way. Marlowe can be viewed as the cultured man, on a bold journey to broaden his horizons and explore the vast, uncharted area. Two very different ends of the spectrum. Nevertheless, they serve as a basis for the comparison between good/evil, a universal binary, usually playing a huge role in plot analysis/story development.

    -Enes Mrkulic

  5.    acervinaro90 said,

    October 5, 2011 at 6:00 pm

    Going back to the question that was asked in class about Marlowe I definitely agree with Jose I think Marlowe was a wander and even though he was a seamen he was extremely different from the others. As stated in the text seamen believe that they know all that there is to know about the water, yet Marlowe was always exploring. He was also a very decent man because as Jose stated he was the one person who went there for the exploration and not to make money. When Marlowe embarked on this trip to Africa he was excited to go and explore. Once he got there I think reality began to settle in. He began to see horrific sites of slavery and brutality. Marlowe began to understand that the true reality was that these people were being used and abused for someone else’s advantage. When it comes to culture I personally feel that it was blocked by all the cruelty that was going on under the power of Kurts. One thing terry definitely was right on target with was that once Marlowe meets Kurtz and understands who he really is. He understands that this man is awful and has no heart. Kurtz was the cause of everything that Marlowe was witnessing. The deaths, slavery, and the commanding of the local cannibals. All the natives were being used and some were being killed for the profit of the ivory which Kurtz becomes greedy for. He was abusing these people for the ivory and with doing so he became an evil man with no heart or a heart of true darkness.

  6.    amark916 said,

    October 5, 2011 at 6:22 pm

    In Heart of Darkness, Africa is represented by the Darkness in the title. The Darkness that stems from the way the natives are treated for the ivory that exists along the coast. The natives are not even seen as human beings, they are looked at as savages and machines with their main and sole purpose of producing ivory for the Europeans. Conrad touches on the irony of the “white” explorers. He shows that whiteness and light has darkness in it and that darkness has purity and light in it. Kurtz is a main character who I considered a monster. He looked at the natives as nothing more than Brutes. Before he died he handed Marlowe a handwritten note that read “Exterminate all the Brutes.” I had such trouble with this note. It is so ironic that he would write this note being that he did in fact have an African woman as his mistress. It is also ironic that Kurtz would have treated these people the way he did. He had gone against all the ethics and main beliefs that existed in European society. Kurtz appeared to be this clean cut, educated man when in fact he exuded pure evil.

  7.    awilliams108 said,

    October 5, 2011 at 7:26 pm

    In Terry response I would say we well define and written towards “The Heat of Darkness” text. In this text, Africa was portrays and represented as a very undeveloped and primitive place of being. It was also suggested that Africa native people were undeveloped and primitive. As describe Africa was seen to a blank and dark place, where none of the whites would adventure nor explore. It is said that Conrad was a racist, reading the title of the book, “The heart of Darkness”, signifies a stereotype and savages towards Africans. As Marlow described, it is more interesting in the surface rather than deep within. In the portrait (page, 120) it clearly stated the ivory trade of Congo with leader King Leopold, who would import and exploit them as slaves.
    The native was force into slavery from their region into the company service, by suffering terrible from overwork and ill treatment at the hands to the company agents. The native was said to worship Kurtz. Marlow notice that Krutz was ill with jungle fever. The slaves, then states to attack the boat because of Krutz and what evil he had done to them. Marlow set Krutz to the ship, where he laid to rest and died. While attacking the steamboat, they were saying that they wanted the heart, which was Krutz. That why the book was title ‘The Heart of Darkness”. Krutz was the heart of all the problems that called Africa a place of Darkness. I would also say this is where African Colonialism came about in picture.

  8.    rasuli said,

    October 5, 2011 at 7:55 pm

    The heart of darkness is a story within a story because Marlow’s story is of a voyage up the Congo River that he took as a young man is the main narrative of Heart of Darkness. Marlow’s narrative is framed by another narrative, in which one of the listeners to Marlow’s story explains the circumstances in which Marlow tells it. These voyages served a sacred, higher purpose to Marlow, he makes himself different from the others on the voyage, particularly Kurtz.

    At the time Heart of Darkness was written, the British Empire was at its peak, and Britain controlled colonies and dependencies all over the planet. The narrator expresses the mainstream belief that imperialism is a glorious and worthy enterprise. Africa was this mysterious land of “white blankness.” This evoked a sense of curiosity. Like terry stated earlier from the text, In other words, they assumed, after all, Africa was full of blank space, full of voids that the paternal Europeans could fill with commerce and religious conversion (page102) Africa was appealing to Europeans because of it’s economic potential, Kurtz would not stop at anything to get himself Ivory. Marolow however, just had a genuine passion for exploring.

    Marlow as a storyteller narrates in an ironic tone, giving the impression that his audience’s assumptions are wrong. Binaries such as civilized vs. savage are called into question. But the irony of Marlow’s story is not as pronounced as in a satire, and Marlow’s and Conrad’s attitudes regarding imperialism are never entirely clear. From the way Marlow tells his story, it is clear that he is extremely critical of imperialism. Using a deconstructionist approach, one notices how Marlow suggests the participation in imperial enterprises degrades Europeans by removing them from the “civilizing” context of European society, while simultaneously tempting them into violent behavior of “savagery” because of the hostility and lawlessness of the environment. Marlow suggests that the mission of “civilizing” native peoples is misguided, not because he believes that they have a viable civilization and culture already, but because they are so “savage” that the project is overwhelming and hopeless.

  9.    marissae17 said,

    October 5, 2011 at 8:38 pm

    I agree with everything that Terry had mentioned in his text in the response to how the Africans and non-natives are represented in this text. The Africans were not treated like humans, they were beaten all the time and there was nothing that they could do about it. Even when they were accused of committing crimes that they weren’t involved it and the Africans denied it, it was their word against the Europeans. Sometimes they would try to fight back, but once the Whites saw a rebellious attack against one of their men, they took action. The African slaves were also starved to practically death. Any living animal that was edible, the Europeans ate and kept for themselves. The slaves had gotten to the point where they were so hungry that whenever given the chance they tried to eat each other.

  10.    khaff88 said,

    October 5, 2011 at 9:00 pm

    I agree with Jose’s opinion about Marlow in “The Heart of Darkness”. I thought that when Marlow was characterized as a man “who still followed the sea” it meant that he comes and goes, like the tides of the ocean. He is always moving and can never conform, he is free to do what he pleases. Because he was so different from the others it can be thought that he was not in a realistic state of mind. The way Marlow thought would look to be like a fantasy to someone else. That is where we get the binary reality/fantasy. Is it realistic to follow the sea? Water always seems to have somewhere to go and it is unpredictable, so can a person live that way? Not for a very long time it seems more of a fantasy; something people wish they could do. To not accept responsibilities and come and go as you please without consequence; that is what you would do if you followed the sea. But realistically, you could never be Marlow because Marlow is living in a fantasy.

  11.    GordonWTam said,

    October 5, 2011 at 10:14 pm

    To build on Jose’s response, Marlow is a man who knows everything, and in his case, too much. After his horrific trip into the Congo, he becomes the man we discussed in class in the beginning, the weathered old sea veteran who seems almost like an idol. In this story, even though Marlow is not the narrator, I feel it gives Marlows story even more meaning. I think that this narrator goes unnamed because his name really doesn’t matter and almost puts us in his shoes when listening to Marlow, to get a real sense of Marlows yarn.

    I think out of the many binaries presented, Light VS Darkness is the most prominent. Everything in the story revolves around it, and a deconstructionalist critic could have a field day with just this one binary. Marlow constantly describes many things having either a bright white sheen to it and many things having an ominous dark glow to it. Deconstructing, we see that many times the bright white thing is incredibly evil and the dark thing the innocent one. The whole story takes place in almost a gray area, where evil and good are a blob, and even Marlows opinion skews every once in a while. A good example would be when Marlow meets the Accountant. “I saw a high starched collar, white cuffs, a light alpaca jacket… I shook hands with this miracle, and I learned he was the Company’s chief accountant.” This man is described as pristine, but we later find out he is far from it. He complains about sick men rotting up his office and making him mess up his numbers. Hardly a miracle.

  12.    mary03 said,

    October 5, 2011 at 10:23 pm

    In the heart of darkness it shows how conrad perceived africa (the congo) was a pure and free place to live in . He wanted to go there since a child . But soon to realize that africa wasnt pure or free. The congo was controlled by the europeans, the congo was under slavery as well. Under so much control and muderous violence . Its ironic how in the story the map makes it seem that the congo is pure and white , its a peaceable state and nice, but as you keep on reading the congo is not like that , the europeans are black in their hearts and are murders.

  13.    nadiab said,

    October 5, 2011 at 10:26 pm

    The Heart of Darkness is a story that delves deep into the unexplored territory of Africa seen through the eyes of a man named Marlow. While on a ship, Marlow retells his story of his voyage up the Congo River. While on his voyage, Marlow witnesses the cost of European intrusion on the foreign land. For Marlow, the land had become “one of the dark places on Earth” (pg 19).
    When Marlow talks about the natives, he is descriptive to his listeners to tell them what he witnessed. “Six black men advanced in a file, toiling up the path. They walked erect and slow, balancing small baskets full of earth on their heads, and the clink kept time with their footsteps” (pg 30). This suggests the work the natives had to do without any sense of defiance against the Europeans. Marlow continues on by saying, “I could see every rib, the joints of their limbs were like knots in a rope; each had an iron collar on his neck, and all were connected together with a chain” (pg 30). Here, the reader can assume that these natives were considered as savages rather than cultured individuals due to the treatment Marlow has described to us.
    I do agree with Jose on his post describing Marlow as a wanderer. Marlow wasn’t the usual seaman. Being the wanderer that he is, he is described as a person who has this enthusiasm to explore. I also agree with Terry on the text describing the result of imperialism in Africa. Marlow gives us an insight to what was occurring under the European control.

  14.    seng101 said,

    October 5, 2011 at 10:33 pm

    The binary of cultured/savage in the Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad shows that a community that is cultured can also at some points promotes savagery. Due to colonization from Europeans the Congolese were cultured. But this culture was not for the Congolese benefit. In fact it made them more “savage”. They turned each other into their enemies. Their lives were made so miserable that they would try to do anything to survive. Terry even stated that ‘they would consider killing and eating each other”(55). From the images that Terry referred to we can see the shameful acts that the Congolese would do to each other. They would maim each other for not keeping quotas or be beaten just for being disobeying their overseer. With this attitude toward each other especially from Kurtz he would send his warriors on expeditions to obtain ivory any way possible. This would mostly mean by using physical force to foreigner and to other natives alike.

  15.    victoriane said,

    October 5, 2011 at 10:38 pm

    “The Heart of Darkens” presents Africa was as a mysterious place with many potentials for the Europeans, as Terry Hong described. It was a land unfamiliar and new territory to conquer for the Europeans. In my opinion, the title suggest that at the heart of Africa it’s a very dark place. It’s dark not because of the natives skin color but because of the dark, evil events occurring to the natives. They were treated like savages in a land were beautiful ivory could be found existed a dark place full of despair and anguish. Mr. Kurtz especially treated the natives horribly, “must necessarily appear to the savages in the nature of supernatural begins (65).”
    There are many binary oppositions in this story but cultured/savage to me is complicated. Mr. Kurtz treat the African as savages and he believes he is of better culture but I don’t think the Africans see themselves as savages. I think the Africans acted “like savages” and worshiped Mr. Kurtz because they were fearful.

  16.    joshuak314 said,

    October 5, 2011 at 10:41 pm

    Marlow is portrayed as a pretty decent and nice guy. He tries to give the starving slave a biscuit and he treats the cannibals with him fairly well. He seems to try and do what’s right. Yet he still views the people there as uncivilized and not quite human (he states they are “not inhuman” instead of saying they are human). He believes it necessary to civilize them, and states that Europe was once as dark and uncivilized as Africa. To people of this age, thinking people uncivilized because they are different seems stupid. But this was the thinking of the 19th century. So I guess Marlow could not have thought differently due to the time when he lived. Charlie Marlow is then portraying the typical person or what the typical European of the 19th century thought they were or aspired to be. The one that people could sympathize with. From the beginning of the story Marlow is described in a way that would make him be admired by people.

  17.    jenn691 said,

    October 5, 2011 at 10:47 pm

    I very much agree with Jose’s analysis of Marlow in the story and his narrative purpose. I agree completely that Marlow is the only one of the four passengers that truly has a passion and follows the sea. He also seems the most wholesome of the group because he is the only man who went there purely for the exploration and not for the money. Marlow is very fascinated with traveling and even though he is a seaman ands it is assumed that he knew everything about the water, he was always learning and willing to travel and explore new places. Through his passion with traveling and living on the sea, this makes the bi-opposition between reality/dream because he now realizes that he soon needs to look into reality and look beyond his life out on sea. I find Marlow to be very intelligent but yet quite confused about who it is he would like to be and how is could achieve satisfaction from his distraught experiences. Also, he is very skilled and hard-working, but yet it is used as a distraction avoiding those around him.

  18.    brianfinnerty91 said,

    October 5, 2011 at 10:56 pm

    I really liked Jose’s post about the short story “Heart of Darkness”. Within his post he provided many examples from the text. I liked how Jose brought up the binary opposition between reality and dreaming. What is real and what is not?? Jose used great quotes from the story to back up his post about this binary opposition between reality and dreaming. The one quote from the story that Jose uses, “I arrived in a city that always makes me think of a whited sepulcher”, really went hand in hand with his conclusion that the city was filled with darkness. I also believe that the city was filled with darkness and racism because of how African Americans were treated back then. Jose’s biggest point that he addressed came towards the end of his post when he states that Marlow was telling a story to the four passengers on his previous experiences. From Jose’s post we can learn that the “Heart of Darkness” is basically a story within a story.

  19.    kocampo100 said,

    October 5, 2011 at 10:56 pm

    I agree with Jose’s response in terms of who Marlow really is. We previously discussed in class that he follows the sea but he has the same characteristics as a leader. He is not like any other ordinary seaman, he is very passionate about the sea. The opposing binaries of Dream vs Reality is obvious in the text, as much as he wants to “follow the sea” he can’t and must deal with what’s real. To expand on Jose’s thoughts about the snake’s uncoiling imagery and meaning, I thought that in a sense this was foreshadowing for the upcoming events. Snakes are known to be sneaky, evil, dangerous or even a warning. I made the assumption that the snake was a warning for the danger that they were going to embark.

  20.    emendoza said,

    October 5, 2011 at 11:04 pm


    Heart of Darkness can be seen as an example of an impressionist novel—that is, one of which dictates how things *appear* to be than how things really are, a sort of “self conscious novel” so to speak. Charlie Marlow’s memoir is not actually being told by Charlie Marlow himself, to the reader, thus there is no direct storytelling line between us and the character Charlie Marlow. In fact, if one were to break it down, Charlie Marlow’s story would be the innermost level of storytelling, being engulfed by the version of his memoir which is told to us readers by the unnamed narrator. To clarify, picture the novel as one whole text—the actual, physical reality of this book that we as readers have in our hands and can tangibly flip through the pages, is the outermost level of storytelling, thus being the least personal. This actual book, contains the story of the Charlie Marlow’s memoir as perceived by the narrator, which would be the level of storytelling *within* our level. And ultimately, within *that* level of storytelling is the basics—the raw, unrefined pure story of Charlie Marlow’s adventure in Africa as he can recall it happening. (This may be confusing, I’d be glad to draw a diagram at any point in time).

  21.    emina said,

    October 5, 2011 at 11:33 pm

    The binary in this text that stands out to the reader while reading is the concept of dreams and reality. Jose brings up a great point in his essay, that the book is narrated through the dream/reality binary. Conrad uses the sea as almost a way of him getting away from reality. When he started stating all of the places he wanted to go too like South Africa and Africa, he made it seem like he was trying to get away from reality by moving to a place, which he thought was better then his reality. As Jose also pointed out that the city was strict and one had to obey orders there, this was his way of getting away from reality, into a almost dream like environment.
    Terry in his response, brings up a good point about why choose Africa out of every place, to be what the story is mainly concerned about. “Heart Of Darkness” deals with the race to conquer this territory. This is why Africa has so much importance put on it throughout the story. Conrad personally is most attracted to the Congo but yet still sees the importance of Africa as a whole and how much potential it really has. At the same time knowing all of this Conrad does now know what he really wants, he says “I had no clear perception of what it was I really wanted”. The reader can tell throughout the whole poem he was not sure what he wanted, or how he would get it.

  22.    cass88163 said,

    October 6, 2011 at 12:34 am

    Marlow’s passion for the sea exhilarated him to reality, and not just this dream of exploration, adventures, following the sea. Jose brought about the biopposition Reality vs. dream; I strongly believe that this applies to Marlow. Being that he is a sailor, Marlow knows the sea precisely; he sets out for this journey, however; Marlow then is exposed to the brutality of the people forced to work in the company. He encounters a young boy that almost looked starved, and offered him some biscuits from the ship; it demonstrates Marlow’s character is commendable. In a way Marlow is faced with more that what he has bargained for. He faces obstacles in this journey that was unimaginable. As he sets sail up the Congo River; his love for the sea turns into darkness.

  23.    Dominique said,

    October 6, 2011 at 12:37 am

    Posted on behalf of Luis Hernandez:

    The Africa describe here is described in terms of military and militant occupants been represented in the lowest terms possibly “However, he explained unfortunate incidents were bound to happen, since many of the sentries were “wretched negroes” with “sanguinary habits” recruited from the local population, natives who were, in other words prone to turn viciously on their own people (Burrows 286)”. Here we are describe many of the militant in Africa at the time that were in charge use to just viciously beat on their own people and been part of their society. In other words they came from the local population and beat the local population because of orders. “Many of the station managers and traders that Leopold refers to as his agents were drawn from the ranks of the Belgian army, and by 1890 they had, with Leopold’s blessing, given the lie to their king’s promise that the Congo would be a free-trade territory”. Here we see the station and traders were handpick from the Belgian army and would be promise the Congo a free-trade territory. “Among these sentries were natives “freed” from their black slave owners and offered “protection” by the white invaders”. As well the sentries used to detain natives and freed them from their black slave owners and offered protection by the white invaders.

  24.    Dominique said,

    October 6, 2011 at 12:43 am

    I’d definitely like to see that diagram drawn on the board tomorrow, Mendoza.

    To all: Does thinking about this narrative visually help you to conceptualize its form? Does the quote I read to you as I walked around the room at the end of last class…”and to him [Marlow] the meaning of an episode was not inside like a kernal but outside…” (20) provide a kind of visual depiction for us, as critics, of the shape of this novel? How would you describe such a shape? What does it imply about the story’s author, context, meaning?

  25.    Terry said,

    October 6, 2011 at 12:07 pm

    I like the point Terry makes about the ‘savages’ having rebellious thoughts. The example he uses showing the native killing Marlow’s predecessor allows us to see these inhabitants as human. The line between savagery and civility embedded in this story is barely discernible. At times, it seems like the Europeans coming to this African Congo are the real savages. This is especially true for Mr. Kurtz, whose obsession with ivory killed his good character. Kurtz became so obsessed with obtain ivory he began killing natives for it as opposed to trading for it. They have no problems with murdering people who can only defend themselves with sticks and arrows. When looking at the actions of the ‘civilized’ Europeans and the ‘savage’ Africans, you can’t tell if either of them are truly civilized at all.

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Spam prevention powered by Akismet

Skip to toolbar