In Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness, Marlow's respect toward the natives is found in the empathy he has for the way they are treated, and his efforts to protect them.
The Congo has been taken over as a Belgian colony. Ivory is like gold, and the Belgians want as much as they can get, to fill the demand in Europe. When Marlow arrives at the Lower Station as a steamship captain to bring one agent (Kurtz) from the depth of the jungle, he is confronted with lunacy and waste on the part of the white men running the station: setting off dynamite for no purpose; letting machinery lie around in abandon, rusting and discarded. It is, however, distress over the plight of the enslaved natives—the atrocities carried out against them—that conveys such a strong sense of pain on Marlow's part:
Six black men advanced in a file, toiling up the path...Black rags were wound round their loins...I could see every rib, the joints of their limbs were like knots in a rope; each had an iron collar on his...
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