Heart of Darkness - Reflection by Joseph Conrad. Chapter two.

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Heart of Darkness - Reflection

Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad is a novel which deals with many aspects of civilised society and the effect that other worlds have upon civilised people. Conrad particularly focus's on the changes that occur to people when they travel into the depths of Africa which he aptly refers to as the Heart of Darkness.

At this stage of the text Conrad, through the character of Marlow, is explaining to us the trip up the mighty river of Africa where he hopes to meet his idol, the infamous Kurtz. As we first enter this passage, we see instantaneous imagery of a dangerous and threatening land -'...overhanging bushes in a whirl of broken twigs and flying leaves.' Followed immediately by reference to animal like beings following the steamer up the river, these beings, the natives of the land follow the intrusion which imposes upon them.

The way Marlow describes the figures upon the shore makes us think not of humans but ghosts in a foreign land. He describes them as -'vague forms of men running bent double, leaping, gliding, distinct, incomplete, evanescent.' When the reality of it is they are the foreigners in their land.

Moments later, Marlow's helmsman falls speared directly before his feet. Marlow's continues steering as if nothing had occurred. His whole purpose set upon keeping the steamer in the middle of the river. He even comments on how hard it was to steer his gaze away from the dying man and concentrate on saving the rest of the men on board. It is at this time that we see the first signs of Marlow's hero like qualities shinning through. He, although confronted with a horrific sight managed to keep his mind focused and remain calm. This is only one of the...