In Part I,Marlow talks about the "product of new forces at work," what does that mean in reference to the era and state of survelliance Conrad talks about the chain gang and the man...

In Part I,Marlow talks about the "product of new forces at work," what does that mean in reference to the era and state of survelliance 

Conrad talks about the chain gang and the man with a rifle who follows, i just dont understand how the African with a rifle is a product of the new forces at work. i am just wondering about the new forces and moral action in the era that Conrad wrote this novel. How does the ivory have to do with the product of new forces at work? And How does the heart of darkness fit in with it?

Expert Answers
merehughes eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I will attempt to clear up some confusion in your questions. 

Firstly, the new forces at work have to do with New Imperialism.  History makes a distinction between colonialism - the colonizing of other countries and Imperialism. This term usually refers to the 19th Century where the fight for African resources became a type of battle among Europeans. Effectively the European powers divided up Africa. New Imperialism is marked by its often ruthless pursuit of material goods and wealth.  The African with a rifle foreshadows the situation where the European powers begin to back off in the Twentieth Century leaving African's to rule themselves which has all too often become a matter of who had the power.  Of course Conrad could not have known this would happen but he might have had a sense of its eventuality.  Marlow represents a new thinking kind of European who throughout the book drops hints that question the rightness of Europe's carving up Africa.

Ivory represents material wealth for the Europeans. 

The heart of darkness represents literally the journey into undeveloped and little explored Africa and also man's journey into the darkness of his own soul. 

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Heart of Darkness

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