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Heart Of Darkness

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That Marlow admires the strength and spirit of the Congolese is obvious both through the language he uses to describe them and the shame that he feels on behalf of the hypocrisy and savage abuse by his own people.

Marlow's admiration is evident from the first moment he sees Africans off the coast: 'You could see them ... . They were a great comfort to look at' (p19). We know that Marlow (and Conrad) appreciate hard work. He sees these men as being strong in spirit, with stamina and a toughness that seems so natural to them. He stares at them and finds comfort in what he sees. He draws a comparison with them and the surf, which he mentioned just before: 'The voice of the surf... ... that had a meaning' (p18). Not only does he draw pleasure from it, but also he seems to appreciate the force of nature that is a constant in both the surf and the Congolese.

During his first day at the station he stumbles across some Congolese in the forest. The civilized Europeans have driven them to their limits. He sees the depth of their suffering: 'Near the same tree ... let his woolly head fall upon his breastbone' (pp24-25). What he witnesses reminds him of a "massacre or a pestilence". Who is the attacking invader and what is the pest? Could this cruelty be the work of the "pilgrims" who came to bring the light of civilisation to the savages of dark Africa? Marlow doesn't approve. This suffering makes him ashamed to be associated with the company. He realises that the only reason why the company is there is to feed it's insatiable hunger for ivory. In pursuing this hunt they misuse the Congolese. The work that they are given is totally futile and seems to be a waste of resources and human life: "But this objectless blasting was all the work going on" (p21). Their treatment of the natives forces these strong, energetic beings to curl up and die like animals (Marlow refers to them here as "creatures") in the under growth of the forest. What he sees in the forest horrifies



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