In "Heart of Darkness", how were the cannibals more civilized than the pilgrims?

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cybil eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I assume "they" refers to the cannibals because indeed Marlow considered them more civilized than the "pilgrims." The cannibals were characterized by "restraint," a quality that Marlow prized greatly, a trait that the pilgrims lacked in that they were quick to panic when the natives attacked and began to fire their guns indiscriminately. The cannibals, on the other hand, had run out of food; the hippo meat they had brought with them had become rotten, yet they did not follow their natural instincts and eat any of the people on board the boat. Marlow admires them for their stoicism and restraint.

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Heart of Darkness

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