The book is the ultimate misanthropic road trip. In the earlier part of the book Kurtz is much talked about, a great success. He is making huge profits for his imperial masters even if his methods may be tough. Finally Marlow finds Kurtz, ill but still the absolute master of the local Africans. His compound is surrounded by the severed heads of those Africans who have displeased or disobeyed him. Conrad portrays Kurtz as having lost all restraint in the pursuit of profit.
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Kurtz sees people as objects. In recent decades Conrad has been criticised by African writers as portraying 19th-century Africans as less than human. The removal of peer constraints reveals us as cruel and ruthless — in Heart of Darkness it is the Europeans who are the savages, not the Africans. No doubt we wish to see ourselves as more civilised than Kurtz.
So should we be optimistic or pessimistic about human nature? As CS Lewis puts it, surely being human is:. So we do not have to end with only. National Center for Biotechnology Information , U. Br J Gen Pract. What was there after all? Joy, fear, sorrow, devotion, rage - who can tell? Let the fool gape and shudder - the man knows, and can look on without a wink'.
Marlow, a seaman, tells of a journey up the Congo. His goal is the troubled European and ivory trader Kurtz.
Worshipped and feared by invaders as well as natives, Kurtz has become a godlike figure, his presence pervading the jungle like a thick, obscuring mist. As his boat labours further upstream, closer and closer to Kurtz's extraordinary and terrible domain, so Marlow finds his faith in himself and civilization crumbling. Jack London. The Complete Novels of H.
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