Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

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Heart Of Darkness Setting

How is the setting of Joseph Conrad's novel, Heart of Darkness, important to the overall understanding of the book?

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The setting of Conrad's Heart of Darkness is extremely important to the story. The Congo region, to which Marlow is traveling in order to find and return with Kurtz, is a relatively unknown portion of the world.

European explorers first discovered the Congo River in 1482 and maintained a presence on it for hundreds of years thereafter, never traveling more than two hundred miles upstream.

Explorer Henry Morgan Stanley was finally able to chart the course of the Congo River and all its tributaries (except one) to the Atlantic Ocean. This provided much easier access to the interior of Africa, where ivory and eventually rubber, valuable resources of the African continent, could be harvested and shipped all around the world. Leopold II of Belgium "claimed" the area and began to export goods that were in such high demand. However, to do so, the native population was enslaved and victimized. Hands and feet were chopped off with regularity, and vast numbers of people were murdered and dumped into...

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