On Marlow’s journey from the Outer station to the Central station, and finally to the Inner station, he witnesses cruelty and torture. At the Outer station he sees several sad sights. He sees Africans rowing, a group of sick Africans, and Africans chained together as they try and blow up a cliff. When he gets to the Central station he meets several men he doesn’t like. He overhears some men talking about Kurtz and hoping that his illness with kill him. Marlow travels to the Inner station with African men her refers to as “cannibals”. At his point he doesn’t have a great sense of time and feels like he is in a dream. As he approaches the Inner station he sees a sign that tells him to “proceed with caution”. Definitely foreshadowing. On the fence posts he sees human skulls. Kurtz’s last words are “The horror! The horror!” When Marlow returns to civilization he feels angry at the people who haven’t traveled down the Congo and seen the cruelty and evil first hand. He now sees the troubles of every day life as petty compared to what he has seen.
Kurtz is the man who is talked about a lot before we ever meet him. Marlow is extremely curious to see who this Kurtz fellow is. When he finally meets Kurtz, we learn how crazy he has gone. In his attempt to earn a higher up post in the Company he gets his ivory by raiding villages. His morals have disappeared, and as Marlow said: “The powers of darkness have claimed him for their own.” The savage ways of his life are foreshadowed by the sign cautioning Marlow as he enters the Inner Camp and when Marlow sees the heads on sticks. Kurtz’s final words are “The horror, the horror”. This could be interpreted two different ways: First, he is talking about the horror he has seen at the Inner camp, or Second all of the horror/horrible things he has done.
So What? This book portrays the world/man as evil. It is seen in the title, “Heart of Darkness”. (One of the meanings). The situation continues to get worse as Marlow travels further into the African continent. Mistreated Africans (beat, chained, etc.) all so the Company can get ahead, human skulls on fenceposts, Kurtz gets his ivory unethically because he wants a promotion, Kurtz’s last lines of “The horror, the horror”.
By reading this book we understand that the world is full of evil after the fall of man. There is a darkness in all of our hearts because we have a sinful nature. That being said, we should still strive for goodness and morality. We should still do the best we can to overcome the darkness and as Christians be the light in a dark world.
Moral/Intellectual Approach What lessons does this book teach us? How can we apply it to our lives?
Marlow’s Journey Outer Station Rowing Africans Sick Africans Chained Africans Central Station Meets men that make him uneasy African is beat because a hut caught on fire Learns of Kurtz Inner Station Refers to Africans as “cannibals” “Proceed with caution” Human skulls “The Horror! The Horror!” Back in civilization Angry at people who haven’t seen the evil Views everyday struggles as petty
Kurtz Gets his ivory by raiding villages Wants to be high up in the company “The powers of darkness have claimed him for their own.” --Marlow Heads on sticks “The Horror, the horror”
So What? Evil “Heart of darkness” Situation gets worse as Marlow travels further into Africa: ○ Mistreated Africans (So that the Company can prosper) ○ Human skulls ○ Kurtz’s unethical method of getting ivory ○ “The Horror, the horror”
So What? Understand that the world is an evil place – Fall of Man Understand that there is darkness in all of our hearts (sinful nature) Strive for goodness and morality Be the “Light” in a dark world