This is a course blog for the members of EH236 at the University of South Alabama, Spring 2006.

Thursday, March 23, 2006


What Is Seen

Marlow, the character whom is pursued through out Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, is an individual that is able to make a reader very aware of his ideas, outlook, or stance on several situations. In the launching of his adventure, the reader is shown (through Marlow’s own words) what he feels about his surroundings, those being the boring and dull offices with the two distinguishable ladies sitting up front. It is through Marlow’s exceptional ability to describe a situation with such spell-bounding (just sounded good not even sure that makes sense : ) depth and emotion. It is because of this skill that it is possible to take a “stab” at how they feel Marlow understands the relation between Kurtz, England, and Africa.
While we follow Marlow and his conversations with the people that surround him in this “savage” land, as well as his conversations with his friends whom he has taken it upon himself to share this story with, we immediately get a sense of how and when his overall understanding of Kurtz begins to take place. By word of mouth, Marlow begins to hear many different details that Kurtz possesses and what type of person people seem to see him as. This serves as a type of stepping stone to which Marlow begins to create his own portrait of what this man stands for. It is shared (in great detail) exactly what emotions are raised in Marlow from these conversations with the men around him and what exactly it is that he learns of this mysterious man. It is obvious that Marlow is beginning to see or realize exactly what type of connection Kurtz and the two countries have with one another, but it is not until after actually meeting the man that he can or will truly understand the relation.
When Marlow arrives to the location from which Kurtz presently resides, he is immediately encounters a man whom he finds to be an interesting character. It is not as important for us to focus on the text that was shared between the two men, but more important for us to realize: 1) this gentleman is a student of Kurtz and 2) that based on what was said between the two, this served to in many ways change some of the ways Marlow may have previously felt or thought of Kurtz. Marlow now has a deep sense of what he feels to be the man Kurtz, but he has still to meet him. Finally, the time has now come that Marlow will meet Kurtz face to face. From here, Marlow will come to a truer understanding of who Kurtz really is from his own experience with him.
Skipping along a little so that I a may just state what it is that Marlow understands: Marlow has now met Kurtz and had several memorable moments with the man in this native and dark land, up to the point of Kurtz’s death. Through what Marlow has heard and seen of Kurtz as well as what and how Marlow expresses it to his friends on the boat, I would say that he sees how Kurtz has come to stand for what England is trying to represent. He is a loyal servant to his country that does what is expected of him: his duty. Marlow also sees Kurtz’s blindness to this foreign land. He sees his ability to extort these people for his benefit and not blink at his actions. The only relation it seems Kurtz holds with this Africa land, is that of a business relation. It offers what he needs and he adapts to it: he finds his mistress, creates followers around him, and touches the heart of many of the men that come into contact with him.
There are more examples and more detail that can be added on from here, as well as a couple things that could be extracted, but what has been mentioned is generally a summing up of Marlow’s outlook on the topic, but the one thing that expresses the understanding that Marlow come to is nothing more than the way he describes those last words: “The Horror! The Horror!”


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