The whole story
Answers 1Add Yours
The Europeans were making money, so from a strictly exploitive view, their presence was not futile. Often getting things to operate seemed futile. Africa does not operate like Europe and getting things there was difficult. Consider the small rivets needed to fix the steamboat:
You could fill your pockets with rivets for the trouble of stooping down -- and there wasn't one rivet to be found where it was wanted. We had plates that would do, but nothing to fasten them with. And every week the messenger, a long negro, letter-bag on shoulder and staff in hand, left our station for the coast. And several times a week a coast caravan came in with trade goods -- ghastly glazed calico that made you shudder only to look at it, glass beads value about a penny a quart, confounded spotted cotton handkerchiefs. And no rivets.
I think the characters themselves all suffered in the heart of Darkness. The Pilgrims are horrible people, the European workers hated Africa and despised the natives, Kurtz goes crazy, and Marlow returns bitter and jaded. The Europeans seemed cursed for daring to go into the heart of darkness. There are more examples that you can find by checking out the GradeSaver analysis of this book.