Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

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Identify three details that point to the futility of the European presence in Africa.

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European futility in Africa is vitally important to the thematic development of Heart of Darkness.  One detail that shows this would be the ship at Central Station sunk in the water.  Its purpose is denied by its sunken condition.  Conrad makes the point that it takes little to fix the ship so that it can accomplish its mission.  Yet, the small rivets needed to fix the boat do not arrive:

You could fill your pockets with rivets for the trouble of stooping down -- and there wasn't one rivet to be found where it was wanted. We had plates that would do, but nothing to fasten them with. And every week the messenger, a long negro, letter-bag on shoulder and staff in hand, left our station for the coast. And several times a week a coast caravan came in with trade goods -- ghastly glazed calico that made you shudder only to look at it, glass beads value about a penny a quart, confounded spotted cotton handkerchiefs. And no rivets.

The idea of rivets being everywhere. but not "one to be...

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