Savagery In Heart Of Darkness

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Civilization and Savagery in
Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness Heart of Darkness portrays the differences between the civilized Europeans and the “savages” of which they were tasked to bring into civilization. Marlow recounts a tale of his experiences as a captain of a river-steamboat for a Company that trades ivory. He retells the story of his predecessor, Fresleven, a Dane, characterized as being told of being “the gentlest, quietest creature that ever walked on two legs.” Fresleven dies in a scuffle with the natives due to an argument regarding two black hens. This is the first image shown by Conrad that depicts the madness displayed by Europeans who venture into the “heart of darkness”. At the Company’s headquarters, Marlow meets a doctor who “… in the interests of science, to measure the crania of those going out there” and admits later on that the changes happen inside. At the headquarters, Marlow sees a map “marked with all the colours of a rainbow.” This map shows the colonial powers present within the continent. As Marlow journeys to his destination, he reaches the Company’s Outer Station upon which he sees images of devastation brought about by the actions of the Company. He sees a chain-gang of six black men “balancing small baskets full of earth on their heads” being guarded by another African wearing a uniform and armed with a rifle. He sees broken machinery and black people who are dying slowly who Marlow describes as “nothing but black shadows of disease
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