Heart of Darkness Questions and Answers

Heart of Darkness

Conrad's use of a frame narrative in Heart of Darkness—a story within a story, as it were—enables the author to distance himself from the horrors of colonial exploitation while at the same time...

Latest answer posted January 6, 2021, 2:53 pm (UTC)

6 educator answers

Heart of Darkness

Issues of race and imperialism dominate Conrad's Heart of Darkness. The work as a whole has been interpreted by successive generations of scholars and literary critics as providing the reader with...

Latest answer posted May 16, 2021, 12:32 pm (UTC)

5 educator answers

Heart of Darkness

One of the beautiful elements of Kurtz's final words are the multiple levels on which they work. Not only is Kurtz reflecting on his own life and experiences, but he is also commenting on misguided...

Latest answer posted May 16, 2010, 11:54 pm (UTC)

2 educator answers

Heart of Darkness

It's important to state from the outset that there's no definitive answer to this question. As a previous contributor has rightly noted, Kurtz is an enigmatic character, and so, inevitably, many of...

Latest answer posted January 21, 2018, 10:45 am (UTC)

2 educator answers

Heart of Darkness

The Heart of Darkness follows Marlow on his journey up the Congo River seeking out Kurtz, who is praised throughout the villages for his God-like qualities. It is later revealed that Kurtz’s...

Latest answer posted September 26, 2018, 6:19 pm (UTC)

3 educator answers

Heart of Darkness

Kurtz’s last words, “The horror! The horror!” have been widely debated by critics and could have multiple meanings. On the surface, it seems that he is referring to the horrors he has witnessed...

Latest answer posted April 6, 2016, 3:36 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

Heart of Darkness

As was mentioned in the previous post, the two women Marlow interacts with during his doctor's visit symbolize two of the three Fates found in Greek mythology. The Fates were personified as three...

Latest answer posted April 6, 2017, 10:01 am (UTC)

2 educator answers

Heart of Darkness

When Marlow finally makes it to Kurtz in the depths of the rainforest, he finds a disturbing site. The poles outside Kurtz' home are not merely decorative balls. They are human heads. The full...

Latest answer posted June 18, 2013, 6:08 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

Heart of Darkness

To answer this, we need to come to an understanding of the Western attitude of Conrad's period regarding the colonial empires that had been established. One often hears Africa described in the...

Latest answer posted December 1, 2019, 5:52 am (UTC)

2 educator answers

Heart of Darkness

Marlow’s feelings about Kurtz begin with mild interest about the missing Company agent, supposedly the best agent in the Company’s entire territory. He gleans from other people’s opinions of Kurtz...

Latest answer posted September 19, 2018, 9:33 am (UTC)

3 educator answers

Heart of Darkness

The Eldorado Exploring Expedition is a group of five white men who come downriver to seek treasure, one of whom is the Station Manager's uncle. Their purpose is to find treasure and exploit African...

Latest answer posted June 25, 2012, 8:31 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

Heart of Darkness

As Marlow and his crew approach Kurtz's Central Station, he compares the behavior and stoic personalities of the cannibals with the terrified white pilgrims. While the cannibals have the awful...

Latest answer posted June 1, 2018, 10:55 am (UTC)

2 educator answers

Heart of Darkness

In addition, the helmsman lacks restraint, a quality Marlow very much admires. The cannibals, oddly enough, do have restraint, for even when they exhaust their food supply of hippo meat and go...

Latest answer posted November 13, 2008, 10:09 am (UTC)

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Heart of Darkness

Marlow wants to go to the Congo because he has always been obsessed with the river. When he was little, he used to peer at maps, and the Congo, which resembled a snake that had uncoiled itself, was...

Latest answer posted August 18, 2018, 12:58 pm (UTC)

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Heart of Darkness

Marlow recalls reading Kurtz's report to the International Society for the Suppression of Savage Customs and begins by commenting on the paper's eloquence. As Marlow reiterates the first paragraph,...

Latest answer posted June 11, 2018, 11:17 pm (UTC)

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Heart of Darkness

At the end of Heart of Darkness, Marlow has returned from Africa a bitter, cynical man. He goes to see the woman Kurtz called his "Intended" (that is, his fiancée, the woman he intended to marry)...

Latest answer posted March 8, 2021, 11:35 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

Heart of Darkness

Conrad's Heart of Darkness is without question a damning critique of the horrendous suffering inflicted on the populations of colonized nations by their rulers, both sovereign and corporate. Yet...

Latest answer posted October 25, 2018, 11:43 pm (UTC)

2 educator answers

Heart of Darkness

Initially, Marlow doesn't really think much about indigenous Africans. He's going to the Congo for purely selfish reasons—to make money exploiting the natives—so he doesn't regard them as anything...

Latest answer posted February 13, 2020, 9:45 am (UTC)

2 educator answers

Heart of Darkness

If something is unearthly it is not of this earth; it is something strange, weird, unusual, even frightening. On the face of it, it may seem somewhat bizarre for Marlow to describe the earth in...

Latest answer posted April 21, 2020, 7:35 am (UTC)

4 educator answers

Heart of Darkness

Marlow grows in awareness of imperialism's evil as he travels into the Belgian Congo. Notably, it is his aunt, a female, who helps him get the job. She believes Europeans are doing good by going to...

Latest answer posted July 4, 2020, 12:28 pm (UTC)

4 educator answers

Heart of Darkness

Before beginning his own story about his experience in the Congo, Marlow muses about the "old times" when the Romans first traveled to Britain. Marlow initially mentions that currently the men on...

Latest answer posted August 19, 2017, 8:32 pm (UTC)

2 educator answers

Heart of Darkness

In Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness, the pilgrims are not missionaries. They are called pilgrims, it seems, because they carry long staves or poles. They are agents, employed at the Central...

Latest answer posted April 26, 2012, 4:36 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

Heart of Darkness

Marlow makes this statement in the opening of the novel, the frame section in which another first-person narrator introduces us to him and allows him to launch into his long story. This narrator...

Latest answer posted July 15, 2019, 12:53 am (UTC)

2 educator answers

Heart of Darkness

Your question clearly points to four of the most well-known words in the English language when we think of literature! I think it is important to discuss what Marlow thinks of what Kurtz says and...

Latest answer posted October 4, 2010, 1:51 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

Heart of Darkness

Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness introduces the reader to Marlow, who dreamt his whole life of traveling into Africa. He is given a chance in the form of a rescue mission to locate Kurtz, the...

Latest answer posted May 25, 2018, 5:53 pm (UTC)

3 educator answers

Heart of Darkness

Kurtz's black mistress serves to emphasize the extent to which Kurtz has gone native, so to speak. He's been out in Africa for so long that he's started to become more African and decidedly less...

Latest answer posted December 5, 2019, 10:20 am (UTC)

5 educator answers

Heart of Darkness

Marlow changes his position in relationship to imperialism, developing a more critical stance. This change involves his attitude toward The Company, as he comes to reject his previous endorsement...

Latest answer posted April 3, 2019, 2:14 am (UTC)

2 educator answers

Heart of Darkness

The Harlequin/Russian trader acts as a means of characterizing Kurtz. We gain most of our information about Kurtz through him. The harlequin gives us a rather warped view of Kurtz. He speaks of him...

Latest answer posted April 22, 2018, 9:52 am (UTC)

4 educator answers

Heart of Darkness

In the frame story that opens the novel, a sailor records what Marlow says as they sit on a boat on the Thames, the river that flows past London to the sea. Marlow muses about the Romans who first...

Latest answer posted December 19, 2019, 4:02 am (UTC)

3 educator answers

Heart of Darkness

I don't think the "pilgrims"—not actual pilgrims, but company men, looking to go upriver in quest of ivory—"represent" slaves; for Conrad, the actual slaves are more than capable of representing...

Latest answer posted July 17, 2019, 1:02 pm (UTC)

2 educator answers

Heart of Darkness

In Heart of Darkness, a frame story is presented to the reader as the narrator tells the reader of a time in which he and other men were on a boat with a gentleman named Charlie Marlow. This...

Latest answer posted February 23, 2018, 3:42 pm (UTC)

2 educator answers

Heart of Darkness

The frame story of Heart of Darkness is important in a couple of ways. Conrad tells us the story of the novel through his created middleman, Marlow. In the frame story, Marlow is telling of his...

Latest answer posted November 22, 2019, 1:50 pm (UTC)

4 educator answers

Heart of Darkness

Marlow's conception of the meaning of life is that it lies in maintaining illusions, even against logic and reality. When he goes to the Congo, Marlow wants fervently to believe in Kurtz, the...

Latest answer posted April 28, 2018, 10:13 pm (UTC)

2 educator answers

Heart of Darkness

The most important idea or theme that Conrad explores in his novella is that of moral ambiguity and moral corruption. The imperialism of the Congo, the treatment of the natives, and Kurtz's...

Latest answer posted April 29, 2008, 6:16 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

Heart of Darkness

A short distance from Kurtz's Inner Station, Marlow's crew is forced to remain anchored because the extremely thick fog prevents them from traveling further down the river. All of a sudden, the...

Latest answer posted March 1, 2018, 9:33 am (UTC)

3 educator answers

Heart of Darkness

Conrad's Heart of Darkness includes numerous examples of internal and external conflict. Marlow is hired by the company that also employs Kurtz, their most successful harvester of ivory. Marlow’s...

Latest answer posted November 3, 2017, 1:58 am (UTC)

2 educator answers

Heart of Darkness

There are a great deal of differences between Kurtz and Marlow in Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness, most of which stem from the fact that Marlow functions primarily as a narrator, while Kurtz...

Latest answer posted April 26, 2016, 3:32 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

Heart of Darkness

When Marlow arrives at the Company's Outer Station, he is appalled by the despicable conditions and disorganization of the entire operation. Marlow witnesses decaying machinery, inefficient work...

Latest answer posted April 23, 2019, 5:58 pm (UTC)

2 educator answers

Heart of Darkness

The character of Kurtz in Joseph Conrad’s novella Heart of Darkness looms large over the entirety of the story, even though he is not met by Marlow until the third and final section. Instead,...

Latest answer posted April 7, 2020, 8:51 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

Heart of Darkness

In Part III of Heart of Darkness, Marlowe compares his "extremity," or experience of coming to the brink of death, to Kurtz's "extremity." Marlowe confesses that in his extremity, if it had...

Latest answer posted July 22, 2010, 5:42 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

Heart of Darkness

Throughout Heart of Darkness, Marlow is continually amazed by Kurtz's capacity to inspire devotion, even among those whom he exploits and abuses. When he meets the young Russian wanderer at the end...

Latest answer posted March 8, 2021, 1:22 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

Heart of Darkness

Joseph Conrad's novel Heart of Darkness is a serious indictment of the consequences, both physical and moral, of European colonialism, with the "natives" depicted as the pathetic, beaten-down...

Latest answer posted June 9, 2015, 6:14 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

Heart of Darkness

Greetings. You have been assigned a book in which the author will challenge your comprehension, your vocabulary, and your ability to follow the logic of extended sentences. In a sense, you are...

Latest answer posted December 21, 2009, 4:27 am (UTC)

6 educator answers

Heart of Darkness

The book Marlowe finds in the hit is a book about seamanship: An Inquiry Into Some Points of Seamanship, by an author whose name he cannot quite make out—perhaps Towson, or Tower. Marlowe is amazed...

Latest answer posted April 23, 2018, 11:20 am (UTC)

3 educator answers

Heart of Darkness

Both Marlow and Kurtz are symbols of the mechanism by which colonization took place and was sustained. A trope of much colonialist literature and of representations of the European experience in...

Latest answer posted September 5, 2019, 5:22 pm (UTC)

3 educator answers

Heart of Darkness

The drums in the novel share a close link with the title. Drums are symbols of the rhythm of life. Their beat can be equated to the beating of a heart. Since the heart is central to our survival,...

Latest answer posted February 10, 2017, 12:36 pm (UTC)

2 educator answers

Heart of Darkness

This statement is part of Conrad's backlash against Enlightenment thinking. Proponents of the ideology believed all questions could be eventually be answered by science; Conrad casts some serious...

Latest answer posted April 13, 2008, 8:29 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

Heart of Darkness

Conrad's title, Heart of Darkness, refers most obviously to the interior of what was once known as the Congo in Africa—that had for many years, been a non-navigable source of mystery. The Congo was...

Latest answer posted May 9, 2013, 5:23 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

Heart of Darkness

Kurtz's report for the International Society for the Suppression of Savage Customs is a seventeen-page treatise written in "eloquent" but "high-strung" language. It is, Marlow...

Latest answer posted September 21, 2008, 4:35 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

Heart of Darkness

Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness begins on a boat outside of London. The chief protagonist is Marlow, who works for an ivory trading company. The setting shifts to the African Congo, which had...

Latest answer posted May 16, 2020, 5:39 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

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