Heart of Darkness

Marlow's Dramatic Transformation 11th Grade

Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness is about the journey of a man named Marlow from England to Belgium to Africa and back. Marlow, heavily influenced and affected by what he witnesses and the people he interacts with, is not the same man at the beginning of the narrative that he is at the end of the narrative. In Heart of Darkness, Marlow transforms from an unaware, naive company member into a wary and wise navigator.

Marlow’s transformation is a direct result of what he encounters along his course of travel. In the beginning of the story, when talking with his mates on the Nellie, Marlow says, “to understand the effect of it on me you ought to know how I got out there, what I saw, how I went up that river…” Marlow would not have transformed into a new man without all of the events that occurred on his journey. From beginning to end, there are several moments that profoundly affected Marlow which made him the man he is by the end of the book. Marlow’s transformation begins with his encounter with the knitting ladies at the company’s headquarters in Brussels. Prior to this moment, Marlow had been sheltered to the realities of what working for his company entailed. The knitting ladies shock Marlow when one says that they don’t...

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