Comment on Conrad's point of view in Heart of Darkness.

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booboosmoosh | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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Heart of Darkness, by Joseph Conrad, is told from the point of view of an unnamed man who was in Charlie Marlowe's company on the Nellie (docked on the Thames in London) when Marlowe described his experience venturing into the heart of Africa: the Congo. The tale is a dark one, but the narrator is without comment or interpretation. The reader must get this from Marlowe and from the reader's personal reaction to Marlowe's tale.

The point of view employed is dramatic third person, limited. Dr. L. Kip Wheeler writes:

When the narrator reports speech and action, but never comments on the thoughts of other characters, it is the dramatic third person point of view, or objective, point of view. The third-person narrator [in this novel is] limited--a narrator who is confined to what is experienced, thought, or felt by a single character...

In the story, Marlowe tells of his experience venturing into the Congo to bring back an employee of the company named Kurtz. All of the information about what transpires on this trip comes directly from Marlowe. At the end of the story, Marlowe ceases talking, and looks out to sea. The narrator reports a comment about the water made by the Director, one of the four men seated there, and then describes the water:

"...the tranquil waterway...seemed to lead into the heart of an immense darkness."

And the story ends, while the reader, as well (we could assume) as the narrator, contemplates the story he has just heard.

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