Heart of Darkness Questions and Answers
by Joseph Conrad

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What is odd about Kurtz's paper in "Heart of Darkness"?

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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 says, a "beautiful piece of writing" that speaks of the "benevolence" the imperialists must bestow upon the natives. He also notes that it must have been written before Kurtz's "nerves went wrong." The odd aspect of the paper is that, in "scrawled" letters that were written much later, Kurtz had written, "Exterminate all the brutes!" It is an ironic postscript to the report.

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