Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

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What is affirmed, if anything, in the novel? What is affirmed, if anything, in the novel?

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Kristopher Parisian eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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I agree with the ideas above suggesting that compassion, sympathy and empathy are each affirmed in this novel. At the opening of the novel, we are given a scene of quiet understanding which is somewhat connected to the scene of Kurtz death aboard ship. People, in these scenes, are literally "in it together", on the same boat, listening to one another and trying to understand. 

The fact that Marlow attempts to really and truly understand a man like Kurtz (so far gone into madness) suggests that empathy is alive in Marlow to an impressive degree. 

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Susan Hurn eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Conrad clearly defines evil through Kurtz and the colonial system that produced and protected him, but he affirms man's capacity for goodness through Marlow. It is through Marlow's reactions to Kurtz and colonialism that Conrad achieves this. Marlow is revolted by what he sees and experiences during his journey and at its conclusion. He finds Kurtz to be morally repugnant, and he is appalled by the greed, cruelty, and exploitation of colonialism....

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