Heart of Darkness Questions and Answers
by Joseph Conrad

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In Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness, Marlow summarized his impression of the people at the company offices by suggesting that they are "full of it."  What does he mean by this phrase?

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Walter Fischer eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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In Joseph Conrad’s novella Heart of Darkness, Charles Marlow has been around.  He’s an old hand at navigating boats through difficult terrain, and there’s little he hasn’t seen.  He is, in short, a cynic.  He’s experienced at transporting the minerals and other goods, including ivory, that are the stock-in-trade for the British and French companies colonizing Africa.  He was, as described by the introduction to the story’s narrator,

“. . . the only man of us who still ‘followed the sea.’  The worst that could be said of him was that he did not represent his class.  He was a seaman, but he was a wanderer, too . . .”

As is often the case when an old-timer like Marlow leaves the environment in which he is most comfortable and enters the world of corporate lawyers, accountants and myriad “white collar” lackeys, he holds those above him in the corporate hierarchy in disdain.  It is in this context that, when summoned to company headquarters, Marlow’s attitude...

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