Heart of Darkness

The Real Heart of Darkness: The Manager of the Central Station in Heart of Darkness

In Heart of Darkness, Marlow, in explaining his motivations for venturing into the Belgian Congo, first, almost by way of an apology, draws on the common spirit of adventure shared by boyhood readers of adventure novels; he names a childhood "passion for maps." His desire for the journey originates in an urge for discovering the uncharted spaces that appeared as blanks on globes and maps. Africa itself, is "the biggest, the most blank" - though "it had ceased to be a blank space of delightful mysteryit had become a place of darkness" (5). Marlow, then, ventures into Africa not on a headstrong impulse of adventure, but under the apparatus of a Belgian trading company. With this air of a disappointed enthusiasm overhead we meet the characters that populate the Congo.

Though it must be noted that the country is populated with black folk, we are only really introduced to the agents of the company, to white Europeans who are in country to turn a profit. Indeed, any other suggestion is almost unreasonable, as Marlow's "Why come here?" to one of his fellows is greeted thus "scornfully":"To make money, of course. What do you think?" (17). Yet, there is another reason,...

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