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Heart of Darkness 
Think about this book as a journey . . . a literal and metaphorical journey.

As you read, look for

--images or words that reappear;
--changes in setting,  characters, Conrad's tone/mood;
--connections, connections, connections to human nature, world events . . .

as Marlow heads farther down the Congo River.

Share what you think you see or what you find.
Posted by Elaine Loughlin On 03/07/2009 at 4:09 AM  4 Comments

Comments
ealoughl said On 03/12/2009 at 3:05 PM
The slaves are there to harvest ivory, build railroads to transport the ivory, or whatever else "the Company" wants them to do. Ivory was an important commodity in the late 1800s. Remember, we hadn't invented "plastic" yet, so ivory was used for everything from piano keys, to jewelry, to buttons, to hair pins, etc. Keep thinking about the lack of humanity in Conrad's descriptions.  
Guest said On 03/12/2009 at 1:00 AM
The most chilling part of the book that I have read so far is in the beginning, when the slaves are being described. "Black rags wound round their loins, and the short ends behind waggled to and fro like tails. I could see every rib, the joints of their limbs were like knots in a rope; each had an iron collar on his neck, and all were connected together with a chain whose bights swung between them, rhytmically clinking." Marlow goes on to describe the frightening looks that the slaves had on their faces, and notices that not one of them glances at him. Now this is what I'm confused about-- what exactly are they there for? What are the slaves doing?? And what is the ivory for?? -Stephanie Guajardo   
ealoughl said On 03/09/2009 at 3:38 AM
Yes . . . the beginning is a bit confusing. The book was published in 1899--this followed the rapid colonization of Africa by the Belgians and others. The slaves were those Africans, usually put into slavery by their own people, who worked doing whatever it took to provide a means for toting the ivory out so it could be shipped to European markets (and elsewhere). Ivory was big money, and soon rubber would become a big commodity for the automobiles that were being mass produced in 1913 and after. Marlow is reflecting on his time with a trading company for which he was hired to pilot a ship. But as you'll see, that's the least of his experience. Marlow goes "in" and comes "out" of Africa, but he is not the same. The doctor who measures Marlow's head at the beginning as he gets checked out by the company before he leaves warns the reader that something profound happens when people go into this dark place--Africa. Keep asking questions. That's what good readers do.  
Guest said On 03/08/2009 at 5:10 PM
As I started reading Heart of Darkness, I became kind of confused. I am unsure about the timing of the book, which is really all that confuses me. The book speaks of slaves I believe builing a track for the railroad, or something of that sort I don't know. Right now Marlow is kind of just telling stories from his past, so what's the point is what I would like to ask. And I also believe I am confused on another part is Marlow not the person who's real job was back on land ? ...::kamisha washington::...  
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