Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

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In Heart of Darkness, why is the sounding-man first to die in the native attack?

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The native attack comes suddenly, without warning, and the first arrows strike the sounding-man, since he is at the prow of the steamer. "Sounding" is feeling in the channel with a long pole to make sure there is enough clearance for the steamer's draft, and so the sounding-man is the first person to appear in view.

"I was looking down at the sounding-pole, and feeling much annoyed to see at each try a...

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