Heart of Darkness

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Heart of Darkness af Mind Map: Heart of Darkness


1.1. A wealthy city, filled with propaganda about the misson to "civilize" Africa. "There have been a lot of rot let loose in print and talk just about that time". Marlow's aunt wants to wean "those ignorant millions from their horrid ways"

1.2. The majority of people from London are kept out of the loop from the actual events the occur in Africa.


2.1. A cit that reminds Marlow of a "white sepulchre"

2.2. "High houses, innumerable windows with venetian blinds, imposing carriage archways, and immense double doors"

2.3. It's a clean city, very wealthy and "civilized". People seem to have an air of superiority about them.

3. First Encounter With the Natives en route to the Outer Station

3.1. Marlow's description: "They shouted, sang; their bodies streamed with perspiration; they had faces like grotesque mask-these chaps; but they had bone, muscle, a wild vitality,an intense energy of movement that was as natural and true as the surf along their coast. They wanted no excuse for being there. They were a great comfort to look at"

3.2. The description of the natives here shows that these people are rather happy. This is the only part of the book that the natives seem to be happy. As the story progresses, the attitude of the natives changes drastically from sorrow to hostility.

4. Central Station

4.1. As Marlow goes further into the interior Africa becomes more of a jungle, "It was on a back water surrounded by scrub and forest, with a pretty border of smelly mud on one side and on three others enclosed by a crazy fence of rushes. A neglected gap was all the gate it had".

5. Outer Station

5.1. Arriving at the outer station Marlow encounters the enslaved natives: "Black rags were wound round their loin and the short ends behind waggled to and fro like tails. 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 whose bights swung between them, rhythmically clinking.

5.2. This is definitely a different type of native from what Marlow encountered earlier, from his choice of words it's as if Marlow sees them as animals. Their "tails" and "collars" and their somber obedience liken them to domesticated animals.

5.3. The scene where Marlow stumbles upon the area were the captors send the slaves to die is a great contrast on how Africans are actually treated to the distorted view of the outside world. "They were dying slowly- it was very clear. They were not enemies, they were not criminals, they were nothing earthly now, nothing but black shadows of disease and starvation lying confusedly in the greenish bloom". Appropriately named "the grove of death".

5.4. The station is not in the best conditions, "Everything else in the station was muddled- heads, things, buildings". However some of the white men managed to keep a well groomed appearance despite the surrounding conditions.

6. Inner Station

6.1. Almost immediately after reach the station Marlow gets his first sight of Mr.Kurtz, "his covering had fallen off and his body emerged from it pitiful and appalling as from a winding-sheet. I could see the cage of his ribs all astir, the bones of his arm waving. It was as though an animated image of death carved out of old ivory had been shaking its hand with menace at a motionless crowd of men made of dark glittering bronze". Kurtz is ordering his followers not to attack Marlow and his companions. Marlow "noticed that the crowd of savages was vanishing without any perceptible movement of retreat, as if the forest that had ejected these beings so suddenly had drawn them in again as the breath is drawn in a long aspiration".

6.2. The natives close to the inner station are very aggressive towards outsiders. They still maintain their separateness from the white men but are loyal to Mr. Kurtz. They think of him as a god almost and want to keep him in the inner jungle despite the wishes of Marlow.

6.3. Upon Kurtz death, Marlow accompanies the body back to London and settles Kurtz's affairs with his fiance and colleagues.

7. En Route to Inner Station

7.1. On board the Steamer Marlow is in charge of African cannibals. He refers to one of them as an"improved specimen" who is taught to work the boiler. To keep the canibal in check he is told that "should the water in the transparent thing disappear the evil spirit inside the boiler would get angry through the greatness of his thirst and take terrible vengeance". While Marlow may find this amusing the fireman toils to make sure his job is done correctly

7.2. When the white crew tossed the food of the cannibals overboard they went hungry. Marlow was amazed at the amount of self-control they possessed in not eating the Europeans even though they were starving.

7.3. Further down river they are attacked by a group of natives. The natives attempt to kill both black and white crew members. As the steamer gets closer to the inner station the jungle seems to envelope steamer and it appears more intimate and dangerous to Marlow and the crew.

8. Analysis

8.1. Upon leaving London, Marlow encounters free ranging natives on a small boat before he gets to the outer station. The natives are relatively happy and even are singing. When he reaches the outer station the atmosphere drastically changes. The natives are shackled and prodded by the white men. There is despair in the air and many are dying from disease and starvation. The area is made to resemble a small mining town. All the jungle has been cleared away. When Marlow finally meets Kurtz he sees that Kurtz has the natives under his complete control

8.2. As Marlow goes further towards the interior he begins to fear the jungle and its natives. The jungle is starting to surround Marlow and it gives off the uneasy feeling of paranoia. When the steamer is attacked the jungle is able to hide the attackers which makes the jungle seem more sinister. Also Marlow is able to see the natives moe agressive side, up till now he's only seen slight happiness and despair.

8.3. When Marlow finally reaches his destination he sees that Kurtz has the natives under his complete control. The jungle appears overwhelming now and the natives seem to be the most powerful in this setting. Marlow actions become more cautious as progresses deeper into the jungle.

8.4. Upon Kurtz's death Marlow returns to London but he becomes restless and unsatisfied: "I found myself back in the sepulchral city resenting the sight of people hurrying through the streets to filch a little money from each other, to devour their infamous cookery, to gulp their unwholesome beer, to dream their insignificant and silly dreams. They trespassed upon my thoughts. They were intruders whose knowledge of life was to me an irritating pretense because I felt so sure they could not possibly know the things I know".

8.5. Marlow feels superior to his peers in London and he hungers for adventure, but he feels duty-bound to see Kurtz affairs through to the end.