- Slides: 20
Mapping the Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
The story begins on the Nellie, a yawl that is in wait on the Thames River. http: //collections. rmg. co. uk/ http: //upload. wikimedia. org/wikipedia/common s/b/b 9/Map_of_the_River_Thames_downstrea m_from_London_1840. JPG
Thames River Entrance London Bridge late 188
Marlow, our narrator and main character has always been interested in maps. Especially the areas of the world that in his childhood where blank, such as the great winding snake of the Congo. As Marlow begins his tale the boat is just waiting for something to happen, will the storm hit or pass. While on the yawn Marlow speaks of England just before telling his story of the Congo. "And this also, " said Marlow suddenly, "has been one of the dark places of the earth. "
Maps from the late 19 th century Left - map made by Henry Morton Stanley of the Congo His expedition dated from 1871 - 1874 (http: //www. cartesia. org/geodoc/icc 2005/pdf/oral/T EMA 25/Session%202/MIRELA%20 ALTIC. pdf)
In Marlow’s tale into darkness, he first crosses the English channel to arrive in what he describes as the “White Sepulcher”.
Marlow leaves Brussels, Belgium a place that he described as cold and dead in a French Steamer headed for Africa. He can not wait to meet the snaking Congo River. Right- (The photo to the right is actually an America ship of the time provided by http: //www. coastalguid e. com/helmsman/gulfstream-historynoaa. shtml) Left- advertisement from the 1890’s
“It was some thirty days later “It was upward of thirty days before I saw the mouth of the big river… But my work, would not begin till some two hundred miles higher up”. -Marlow
The Company Station is the first stop for the ship taking Marlow to Africa. The company is centered around the trade of ivory, likely this is based on Conrad’s experience with a rubber company that he had worked for previously to writing In the Heart of Darkness. Here the journey to the interior will begin. This also is where Marlow here’s of the ‘famous’, Kurtz. Also at the Company Station Marlow sees enslaved Africans that are beginning to build a railroad. Above- Colonial Congo http: //pattyinglishms. hubpages. com/hub/Hea rt-of-Darkness Left- Old Belgian river station on the Congo River, 1889 http: //en. wikipedia. org/wiki/File: Vingt. Annees _289. jpg
” I could see every rib, the joints of their limbs were like knobs in a rope, each had an iron collar on his neck and all were connected together with a chain whose bights swung between them, rhythmically clinking.
They were dying slowly – it was very clear. They were not enemies, they were not criminals, they were nothing earthly now, - nothing but black shadows of disease and starvation, lying confusedly in the greenish gloom. Brought from all the recesses of the coast in all the legality of time contracts, lost in uncongenial surroundings, fed on unfamiliar food, they sickened, became inefficient, and were then allowed to crawl away and rest. These moribund shapes were free as air – and nearly as thin. I began to distinguish the gleam of eyes under the trees. Then, glancing down, I saw a face bear my hand. The black bones reclined at full length with one shoulder against the tree, and slowly the eyelids rose and the sunken eyes looked up at me, enormous and vacant, a kind of blind, white flicker in the depths of the orbs, which died out slowly. The man seemed young – almost a boy – but you know with them it’s hard to tell. I found nothing else to do but to offer him one of my good Swede’s ship’s biscuits I had in my pocket. The fingers closed slowly on it and held – there was no other movement and no other glace. -Marlow upon reaching the Company Station and witnessing the state of the slaves.
British officers meeting with the Sobo people, Nigeria, Africa, late 19 th century. The Living Cultures collection, the Manchester Museum. Nigeria is very far from the Congo, but we can see the great difference in appearance of the African and European people (http: //mancultural. wordpress. com/)
"The conquest of the earth, which mostly means the taking it away from those who have a different complexion or slightly flatter noses than ourselves, is not a pretty thing when you look into it too much. “ -Marlow
The midpoint of Marlow's trip At the Central Station (Kinshasa) he is introduced to his ship, pilgrims and the Manager. Here it becomes apparent the company is inefficient and brutal to the inhabitants. Marlow’s steamship has been sunk and it will take great time to make the necessary repairs due to the inefficiency of the company. Marlow’s curiosity about the mysterious, Kurtz increases and finally Marlow sets sail up the river wi a crew of cannibals and pilgrims. On the trip they sp villages through the dense jungle. On the trip up the river they come across a hut that was once a young Russian’s. http: //maps. thefullwiki. org/Heart_of_Darkness The Roi des Belges, the ship Conrad used to travel up the Congo
We had enlisted some of these chaps on the way for a crew. Fine fellows – cannibals – in their place. They were men one could work with, and I am grateful to them. And, after all, they did not each other before my face: they had brought along a provision of hippo-meat which went rotten, and made the mystery of the wilderness stink in my nostrils. http: //www. google. com/imgres? imgurl=http: //www. infobarrel. com/media/image/38580. jpg&imgrefurl=http: //www. infobarrel. com/A_Minor_Characters _Importance_In_Heart_of_Darkness&h=486&w=624&sz=276&tbnid=CXyt. M 53 Sczx. Lo. M: &tbnh=84&tbnw=108&prev=/search%3 Fq%3 Dheart%2 Bof%2 Bdark ness%2 Bpicture%26 tbm%3 Disch%26 tbo%3 Du&zoom=1&q=heart+of+darkness+picture&docid=1 oj. UW 0 xc. Kuxl. YM&sa=X&ei=4 XUn. T 4 N 0 h. Jb. YBb. WZ_c. EC&ved =0 CCo. Q 9 QEw. Ag&dur=43
People gathered in the forest, at the passage of the steamboat “Roi des Belges” (“King of the Belgians”) in 1888. The native people do not come out to see the steamboat in The Heart of Darkness. http: //en. wikipedia. org/wiki/File: Vingt. Annees_258. jpg
The Central Station is the midpoint of Marlow's expedition.
As Marlow’s trip into the darkness continues he reaches Kurtz's cottage at the Inner Station. Kurtz has established the most plentiful ivory trade in the company. Kurtz has created a very powerful and evil relationship with the local tribe. 'Exterminate all the brutes!‘- Kurtz
"He began with the argument that we whites, from the point of development we had arrived at, 'must necessarily appear to them in the nature of supernatural beings - we approach them with the might of a deity, ' and so on, and so on. 'By the simple exercise of our will we can exert a power for good practically unbounded, ' etc. , etc. From that point he soared and took me with him. The peroration was magnificent, though difficult to remember, you know. It gave me the notion of an exotic Immensity ruled by an august Benevolence. It made me tingle with enthusiasm. “ -Kurtz
When Kurt is leaving his station Marlow describes the reaction of the native people. "In front of the first rank, along the river, three men, plastered with bright red earth from head to foot, strutted to and fro restlessly. When we came abreast again, they faced the river, stamped their feet, nodded their horned heads, swayed their scarlet bodies; they shook towards the fierce river-demon a bunch of black feathers, a mangy skin with a pendant tail – something that looked like a dried gourd; they shouted periodically together strings of amazing words that resembled no sounds of human language; and the deep murmurs of the crowd, interrupted suddenly, were like the responses of some satanic litany. "