Heart of Darkness by Miranda Bray on Prezi
and find homework help for other Heart of Darkness questions at eNotes. [ Page numbers from which quotes are taken are not available, as the Kindle version It is the environment and it is what lies within Kurtz and within those safely back. Oct 22, It is a permanent entity, as it truly lies within the heart of man. This quote shows that Kurtz had a spell over people even in his life before the. Feb 9, This quote relates to how in society everyone must be able to show an attitude, a facade In Joseph Conrad's English novella, Heart of Darkness, The reason for the mystery behind Kurtz lies in the multiple masks and.
Earlier Marlow said that the beautiful idea behind colonization masks the ruthless practice of colonialism. Well, his aunt clearly buys the idea, and in doing so establishes women as symbols of civilization's inability to see its hollow corruption.
Active Themes Marlow boards the steamer that will take him to the mouth of the Congo with a sense of foreboding. To Marlow on the steamer, the forested coast of Africa looks like an impenetrable enigma, inviting and scorning him at the same time. He occasionally sees canoes paddled by native Africans, and once sees a French ship firing its guns into the dense forest at invisible "enemies.
He wanted to know the unknown. But Africa resists being known, and makes colonialists do ridiculous, hollow things like shoot at forests. Active Themes Related Quotes with Explanations At the mouth of the Congo, Marlow gets passage for thirty miles from a small steamer piloted by a Swede. The Swede mocks the "government chaps" at the shore as men who will do anything for money, and wonders what happens to such men when they get further into the continent.
The pilot, a man who works, condemns the colonialists who care not about work, but about money. The pilot's question about what happens to such people in the jungle is more foreshadowing.
Machinery rusts everywhere, black laborers blast away at a cliff face for no reason. Marlow comments to the men on the Nellie that he had long known the "lusty devils" of violence and greed that drive men, but in Africa encountered "a flabby, pretending, weak-eyed devil of a rapacious and pitiless folly.
The "lusty devils" are the desires that move men to act badly, but without deception. The "pretending" devils move men to fake their noble intentions for greedy ends.
Active Themes Marlow then stumbles upon what he calls the Grove of Death, a grove among the trees that is filled with weak and dying native laborers, who are living out their last moments in the shade of the ancient trees. Marlow sees the death of the natives with the same horror as the rusting machinery.
It's a tragedy to him, but not a human tragedy. One day the Chief Accountant mentions that further up the river Marlow will probably meet Mr. Kurtz, a station head who sends in as much ivory as all the others put together and who "will be a somebody in the [Company] Administration before long. The Chief Accountants comments both introduce Kurtz as a remarkably talented fellow and also convey the backbiting and politics going on under the surface in the Company.
Marlow admires the Chief Accountant's grooming because such hygienic habits involve disciplined work, especially in the midst of the chaos of Outer Station. Active Themes Just then a dying "agent' from up country" is brought into the Chief Accountants quarters for lack of other space, which gently annoys the accountant. When, a while later, there is a "tumult" of noise as a caravan of pilgrims and natives comes into the station, the Chief Accountant comments, "When one has got to make correct entries, one comes to hate these savages—hate them to death.
After a fifteen-day trek through the jungle during which the only other white man fell ill and many of the native porters deserted rather than carry the sick man, Marlow reaches the Station. The absurd inefficiency and waste of the colonial effort just keeps growing Active Themes At the station, Marlow is greeted by the first man he sees with news that the ship he was supposed to pilot has sunk.
Apparently, the General Manager had suddenly decided to try to reach Kurtz at the Inner Station with an inexperienced pilot at the helm of the steamship. The steamship promptly sank.
White Lies and Whited Sepulchres in Conrad's Heart of Darkness
It's motivated by greed, which is bound to produce inefficiency and waste. Active Themes Marlow, on the Nellie, says that though he can't be sure, he suspects that it's possible the General Manager wanted the steamship to sink. Marlow's guess foreshadows the General Manager's negative feelings about Kurtz. Active Themes Marlow is immediately taken to see this General Manager, who is thoroughly unremarkable in intelligence, leadership, and unskilled at even maintaining order.
Marlow believes the General Manager holds his position through two traits: The General Manager is the embodiment of the "pretending" devils Marlow mentioned earlier. His main trait is that he doesn't die!
He's defined by his lack of identity. In other words, he's hollow. Active Themes The General Manager explains why he took the steamship onto the river before Marlow, its pilot, arrived: Kurtz, the Company's best agent, is sick.
The General Manager takes special interest when Marlow mentions he heard Kurtz's name mentioned on the coast. The General Manager estimates that it will take three months to repair the ship, and turns out to be almost exactly right. The General Manager's interest that Marlow had earlier heard of Kurtz implies the Manager's concern at Kurtz influence and power in the Company.
The Manager's perfect guess about the time needed to fix the ship implies he did purposely sink it. Active Themes Marlow sets to work fixing the ship and watches the absurd happenings of Central Station, where the various company agents employees do no work, stroll about aimlessly, and dream of ivory and wealth.
Marlow describes the place as "unreal. Work provides a reality one can cling to. As Marlow approaches he sees a laborer being beaten for setting the blaze and overhears the General Manager talking with another man about Kurtz, saying they should try to "take advantage of this unfortunate accident.
The General Manager's concern for Kurtz is obviously faked. Kurtz, Marlow does what he most despises. To protect both the integrity of Kurtz's visions and the Intended's guileless love for the quondam humanitarian Marlow acquiesces in her statements of faith "his goodness shone in every act" [Murfin ed. Marlow has returned to Brussels "hoping to surrender to her the memory of Kurtz.
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She instead maneuvers him into telling her a lie: Ironically, Marlow finishes his story of African adventure at the point where Kurtz's career in crimes against humanity in all likelihood began, with a rationalization, a justified lie. In fact, it is the lie that renders this another of Charlie Marlow's "inconclusive experiences" What if the Company's real objective were wealth derived from a trade in bones?
Such a parcel of lies, exposed in their naked contumely through the course of the narrative, Marlow has found "appalling," yet he now countenances his own untruth to the Intended on similar grounds, to preserve an ideal image that should be revealed as hollow. Enthralled by their own money-lust which, as Lionel Trilling observes of late nineteenth-century American society, is "the father of ultimate illusion and lies" the Europeans disregard both the natives' interests and their own moral well-being as they monopolize the ivory trade.
The very air seems to sigh "ivory," and the only earthly reason Europeans in the Congo can give for being out there is "To make money, of course" However, it is not corporate profits but the welfare of the natives that Kurtz's Company has used back in Europe to justify its presence and activities in central Africa. Before he came face to face with his own base passions and atavistic drives there, Kurtz the journalist espoused those same altruistic ideals which Marlow satirizes as "the noble cause"  and "the cause of progress"  that his employers have mouthed in order to mitigate enslaving the natives to facilitate their obsessive quest for gain.
As in Conrad's "An Outpost of Progress" the manager's lofty intentions for his work at the jungle station were quickly perverted by the Darwinian ethos of the unfamiliar climate and environment, which shattered Kurtz's shallow European principles, leaving him the mere hollow shell of a civilized, rational being.
Conrad makes plain the moral bankruptcy of the system for which Kurtz stands by connecting him with Brussels, the "city of the dead" 25 that in Marlow's reminiscence epitomizes European civilisation: In the above description Conrad alludes to Christ's characterization of his opponents, the New Testament's Pharisees, as "whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful i.
What the Saviour found so objectionable in his sectarian adversaries is what Marlow finds so repulsive in the Belgian company: Just as the Pharisees maintained that they were solely concerned with the spiritual health of the people of Israel but acted out of self-interest, so the Company hides its appetite for wealth and power behind empty platitudes about advancing the light of European civilisation through the darkness of the African jungle, and "'weaning those ignorant millions from their horrid ways'" When Marlow describes his city of departure.
The color acquires not only sepulchral connotations but also moral dubiousness, Marlow's description recalling the Biblical phrase for the hypocrite, the man of inner darkness whitewashed by outer manner and conventional deed Rosmarin Kurtz, behind whom lurk death and desolation.
The marble fireplace of the Intended's parlour possesses a "cold and monumental whiteness" 90connecting this particular European interior with the general exterior of the society. The white of the middle-eastern tomb's exterior is the white of the African ivory, superficially attractive in fact, the tombs were white-washed in order to be highly visible so that orthodox Jews might avoid ritual defilement by unwittingly coming too close: Given over to the powers of darkness, Kurtz cannot restrain himself from misusing the tools afforded him by his race's superior technology — "the thunderbolts of that pitiful Jupiter" 75 — and assuming godhead.
He becomes a savage better only in fire-power than those with whom he is in league. His sociopathic tendencies being given full play, Kurtz mercilessly murders and pillages to provide his firm with his quota of tusks — most of it, significantly, disinterred "fossil. The closing scene of The Heart of DarknessMarlow's interview with the dead man's white Intended a pale figure of delusion juxtaposed against the black Athena who had usurped her place for Kurtz at the Inner Stationleaves the reader with ambivalent feelings about Conrad's chief narrator.
Although he is trying to spare her further anguish, he is simultaneously denying that the evils which Kurtz, the Company, and the pilgrims committed in the heart of darkness are still taking place. In fact, even after the follies — "the merry dance of death and trade" 28 — he has witnessed in Africa, Marlow values European colonialism as stabilizing — "There was a vast amount of red — good to see at any time, because one knows that some real work is done in there" Although he admits the debilitating effects of civilisation on the Congolese even the muscles of his cannibal crew are gradually deteriorating under its influenceMarlow sees the system as setting positive constraints "a butcher round one corner, a policeman round another"  to individual conduct.
Even in "the sepulchral city" 87 which he loathes, Marlow sees the virtue of a system that permits people "going about their business in the assurance of perfect safety" He justifies his personal commitment to the former, unreal, idealistic and idealized Kurtz by describing his impending lie as resulting from "an impulse of unconscious loyalty, or the fulfilment of one of those ironic necessities that lurk in the facts of human existence" One must wonder if the sort of lie that Marlow tells Kurtz's Intended was the same first step that Kurtz took on the path to self-destruction at the Inner Station.
Like Willa Cather's protagonist in her psychological study "Paul's Case," Kurtz and Marlow have looked into that dark place in the human psyche and know what lies there. Buddha-like, Marlow has come back from near death on the Stygian shore to tell the world in his mind, apparently a male constructbut feels an almost boyish reticence about revealing the horror of the darkness to the woman.
Does he, as Moser has suggested, allow himself to be maneuvered into lying out of an outmoded, chivalric regard for the lady's sensibility, or does he feel that she is unworthy of or incapable of understanding the truth as it revealed itself to him through Kurtz at the heart of darkness? Or does he believe that someone must have his or her innocence maintained in order to sustain a worthwhile ideal that animates a workable system?
Wright, "he would have acknowledged that the pilgrims in their cynicism had the truth, that goodness and faith were the unrealities" Or is the lie an affirmation of Marlow's fellowship and solidarity with Kurtz, whom Marlow feels that he has no right to condemn?