Heart of Darkness

In the beginning of this section, Conrad provides a very vivid description of the “grove of death.” What is the “grove of death,” and what is Conrad’s purpose for providing such detail?

What is the grove of death?

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Marlow is inspecting the sorry dilapidated station. He comes across a grove of trees full of sick and starving black laborers. They have become ill and, unable to work, are allowed to wander off and die. It is a picture of human cruelty and misery that Marlow had not experienced before,

“They were dying slowly. They were not enemies or criminals. They weren’t even human anymore. They were shadows of disease and starvation lying in the gloomy green shade."

I think the implication was that the Europeans were trying to build some sort of drainage or water system. The irony was that these people were dying of thirst right on top of it. It is an example of the callous disregard that the colonizers had for the indigenous peoples.