In Heart of Darkness, the narrator, Marlow, does not loiter in the shade of the clump of trees because? A) he was horrified by the skeletal workers resting there. B) it was too breezy there. C)...

In Heart of Darkness, the narrator, Marlow, does not loiter in the shade of the clump of trees because?

A) he was horrified by the skeletal workers resting there.

B) it was too breezy there.

C) he wanted to go get another biscuit from the Swede.

D) it was full of snakes.

Expert Answers
sciftw eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The correct answer to your question is choice "A."  At this point in the story, Marlow is becoming familiar with the abuse that the native people are being subjected to in the name of imperialism.  Here Marlow is shown the complete brutality being heaped upon the black slaves.  He is appalled at the treatment of the chain-gang that he sees.  Marlow basically does an "out of sight, out of mind" move.  He goes into the trees in hopes of not seeing any more of the chain-gang.  

My idea was to let that chain-gang get out of sight before I climbed the hill.

Unfortunately, Marlow doesn't escape from seeing the misery.  In fact, he sees even more of it.  He sees people that he can barely even call human any more.  They are so sickly, beaten, and starved that Marlow can hardly believe what he is seeing.  

They were dying slowly — it was very clear. They were not enemies, they were not criminals, they were nothing earthly now — nothing but black shadows of disease and starvation, lying confusedly in the greenish gloom.

To Marlow's credit, he doesn't immediately run away from the scene.  He offers a biscuit to one of the sick and dying men.  The slave takes the biscuit, but he doesn't have the energy to eat it.  He likely dies with the food in his hand.  

I found nothing else to do but to offer him one of my good Swede’s ship’s biscuits I had in my pocket. The fingers closed slowly on it and held — there was no other movement and no other glance.

Marlow watches one more man die, and then he leaves the shade and hastily makes his way to the station.  

Lorraine Caplan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The correct answer to your question is "A."  Marlow has jumped out of the frying pan into the fire in this scene.  He has gone to the trees to avoid having to observe the misery of the chain gain passing by him, but when he reaches the trees he see men all around him black shapes, men who were under the trees in various stages of dying, "black shadows of disease and starvation..." (82). He describes the face of one man close to him:  

....slowly the eyelids rose and the sunken eyes looked up at me, enormous and vacant, a kind of blind, white flicker in the depths of the orbs, which died out slowly.... (82).

Marlow sees many sights like this on his way to Kurtz, and in fact, it is really Kurtz who best expresses the darkness of colonial Africa, which is not the darkness of the black people, but of the people who colonize Africa. As Kurtz dies, his final words are "The horror! The horror! (147). 

quddoos | Student

A - 100% sure- final answer.