What is Kurtz's head like in Heart of Darkness?

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Kurtz is defined heavily by his obsession with collecting ivory. His expressions are often defined as being on an "ivory face," simply meaning that he was very pale. He is also described as being bald, as Marlow states that his head was "like a ball—an ivory ball." It is clear...

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Kurtz is defined heavily by his obsession with collecting ivory. His expressions are often defined as being on an "ivory face," simply meaning that he was very pale. He is also described as being bald, as Marlow states that his head was "like a ball—an ivory ball." It is clear that Kurtz is being made out to be a living, breathing symbol of ivory, which itself is a symbol of greed and colonialist cruelty and manipulation on the part of the company.

Kurtz has fallen completely to the jungle, his heart completely swallowed by the darkness and violence that resides there. The significance of how his head appears may be affected by the inferences drawn by Marlow, who has a strange obsession with Kurtz.

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In Chapter 2, Conrad writes:

"And the lofty frontal bone of Mr. Kurtz! They say the hair goes on growing sometimes, but this—ah—specimen, was impressively bald. The wilderness had patted him on the head, and, behold, it was like a ball—an ivory ball; it had caressed him, and—lo!—he had withered; it had taken him, loved him, embraced him, got into his veins...."

Kurtz has devoted his life to procuring ivory with the result that he has come to resemble ivory himself.

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