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Heart of Darkness analysis

Marlow’s Inner Journey Heart of Darkness is a story about Marlow’s journey to discover his inner self. Along the way, Marlow faces his fears of failure, insanity, death, and cultural contamination on his trek to the inner station. Marlow, who goes on his journey to meet Kurtz, already has a fascination with Kurtz after listening to many people along the way. Conrad tries to show us that Marlow is what Kurtz had been, and Kurtz is what Marlow could become. Marlow says about himself, "I was getting savage," meaning that he was becoming more like Kurtz. Along the trip into the wilderness, they discover their true selves through contact with the native people. On one occasion, the steamer is attacked by a party of natives, killing the helmsmen and frightening the crew. This event triggers a change in Marlow, who takes off his shoes, which were covered in his friend’s blood. This taking off of clothes is a return to nature, bringing about a more primitive Marlow. Even as Marlow ventures further up the Congo, he feels like he is traveling back through time. He sees the unsettled wilderness and can feel the darkness of its solitude and immensity. Marlow comes across simpler cannibalistic cultures along the banks. The deeper into the jungle he goes, the more regressive the inhabitants seem. Kurtz has lived in the Congo, and thus has been separated from his own culture for quite some time. He had once been considered an honorable man, but the jungle changed him greatly. Here, secluded from the rest of European society, he discovers his evil side and becomes corrupted by his power and solitude. In once instance, Marlow is outraged and upset when Kurtz threatened to kill him if he did not give him the ivory. Killing Marlow would not be beneficial to Kurtz in any form; thus the fact that Kurtz is willing to kill over a small amount of ivory indicates the influence of the native people and the lack of law in the land. Kurtz does ...

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