HEART OF DARKNESS – Joseph Conrad A group of men are aboard an english ship that is sitting on Thames.
The group includes a law and a man without a specific profession who is named Marlow. The narrator appears to be an unnamed guest on the ship. When they were talking about waiting for the wind to pick up so that they paused their journey and Marlow began to speak about London and Europe as some of the darkplaces on earth.
Marlow is a stationary man very unusual for a seaman. The others do not understand him because he does not fit into a neat category in the same manner than others do. He then began to narrate his personal experience in Africa, which led him to become a freshwater sailor and gave him a terrible glimpse about colonization. Marlow also had a passion for travel and exploration. Marlow decides he wants nothing more than to be a shipper of a steamship that travels up and down a river in Africa.
He got his appointment with the help of his aunt who had a connection in the administration department of seafaring and exploration. He replaces a caption who was killed in skirmish with the natives. When Marlow arrives at the office the atmosphere is dim and he felt as if everyone is looking at him pityingly. The next day he embarks on one month journey to the primary company station.
There are dark and rather desolate inspite of the flurry of human activities around them. When he arrives Marlow learns that a company member recently committed suicide. There are multitudes of chain gang types who all look at him with a different expression. Then Marlow become friend with the chief accountant and he frequently spends time with him when the accountant goes over his accounts. After 10 days of observing the chief accountants ill temper Marlow departs for his 200 mile journey into the interior of Congo, where he will work for a station run by a man named Kurtz. The journey was difficult and tiring. Marlow crosses many paths, sees deserted dwellings and encounters men working. He never describes them as humans.
He then finally arrives at the secondary station where he meets the manager. The manager smiles in a discomforting manner. The ship on which Marlow is supposed to set sail is broken. He frequently hears the name Kurtz around the station.
Clearly everyone knows his future boss. It is rumored that he is ill and soon the entire crew will depart for a trip to Kurtz’s station. Manager’s uncle arrives with his own expedition. Marlow overhears them saying that they would like to see Kurtz and his assistant hanged so that their station could be eliminated as ivory competition.
After a day of exploring the expedition has lost all of their animals. Marlow sets out for Kurtz’s station with the pilgrims. About eight miles from their destination they stop for the night. There is a talk of an approaching attack. Rumor is that Kurtz may be killed in previous one.
Some of the pilgrims go ashore to investigate. The whirring sound of arrows is heared; an attack is underway. The pilgrims shoot back from the ship with rifles. The helmsman of the ship is killed as is a native ashore. Marlow supposes that Kurtz has perished in the inexplicable attack. This upsets him greatly. Over the course of his travels, he has greatly. Over the course of his travel he has greatly looked forward to meeting this man.
The natives don’t want Kurtz to leave because he has expanded their minds. Kurtz doesn’t want to leave because he has essentially become part of tribes. After a long time Marlow has a very clear picture of the man who became his obsession. Finally he got the chance to talk to Kurtz, who is ill on his deathbed. The natives surrounded his hut until he tells them to leave. While on watch, Marlow dozes off and realizes that Kurtz is gone. He chases him and finds Kurtz in the forest.
Marlow manages to take him back to his bed Kurtz entrusts Marlow with all his old files and papers. The Russian escapes before the manager and others can imprison him. The steamboat departs the next day. Kurtz dies onboard a few days later, Marlow attended him till the end. Marlow returns to England, the memory of his friend haunts him.
He manages to find the woman from the picture and he pays her a visit. She talks at length about his wonderful personalities and about how guilt she felt when she was not with him at the last. Marlow lies and says that her name was the last word spoken by Kurtz, the truth would be too dark to tell her.