Detailed Summary of Heart of Darkness

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Detailed Summary: Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad, Chapter II, Part II

Marlow steered the boat and when they were thinking they had reached Kurtz’s station, they were attacked by natives with small poisoned arrows. They came like swarms and Marlow really had to make an effort to steer the ship to avoid getting into their hands while the guns thundered in self-defence of the whites. A native fell into their boat. He was injured and died at the feet of Marlow instantly. Marlow thought of Kurtz: “Everything belonged to him-but that was a trifle. The thing was to know what he belonged to, how many powers of darkness claimed him for their own”. He considers that Kurtz has been playing in the hands of the devil and has himself grown as one of them.

Marlow thinks of the role of society and laws which exert sufficient pressure on an individual to keep him sane as well as human but in the wilderness of Congo where no rule and no law is applicable man may only fall back upon his own conscience and inner self: “Of course you may be too much of a fool to go wrong-too dull even to know you are being assaulted by the powers of darkness”. Marlow thinks of Kurtz and he also thinks of the nature of man in the barren prehistoric place like Congo. He wants to meet Kurtz. He wants to discuss thing with him. Kurtz can speak English. “His mother was half-English, his father was half-French. All Europe contributed to the making of Kurtz”.

“International Society for the Suppression of Savage Customs had intrusted him with the making of a report, for its future guidance”. Marlow confirms that Kurtz had written 17 pages of the report. Marlow could understand what Kurtz meant in his report that the Europeans “must necessarily appear to them [savages] in the nature of supernatural beings-we approach them with the might of a deity”. The most striking phrase written by Kurtz appeared to him was to “exterminate all the brutes”. Though Marlow does not praise the deeds of white men in Congo and Africa yet he does admit the powerful personality of Kurtz: “whatever he was, he was not common. He had the power to charm or frighten rudimentary souls into an aggravated witch-dance in his honour”.

While attending to Kurtz, a feeling of kinship and companionship grew in his heart. Marlow again begins with the steering of the ship that was taking them to Kurtz’s station. There were suspicions on board that the natives had murdered Kurtz. It was getting dark once more and the manager was directing Marlow to stay away from the land by dark. Just then Marlow observed a building of some sort in the midst of the jungle. They cried out “station”. A young man was waving hands to them to come to the land. Marlow and company reached the land safely, eventually. Marlow gave that man pipe and the book which cheered him. When Marlow inquired him why the natives attacked his boat, he told that the natives don’t want Kurtz to go.