Marlow as a “youth” appears not only in the short story bearing that name but also in “Heart of Darkness.” In “Youth,” he is twenty and is making his first voyage as second mate, after already having spent six years at sea—which means that he went to sea at the age of fourteen. In “Heart of Darkness,” he has returned to England after “a regular dose of the East—six years or so” (496); and, before he goes to the Congo, he still has many of the attitudes he had associated with youth. He tells us that when he was a child he had a passion for maps and would lose himself “in all the glories of exploration” (497). He would put his finger on one of the blank spaces and say, “When I grow up I shall go there.” The “glamour’s off” many of those places, but he still has “a hankering” to go to the Congo, even though it has “ceased to be a blank space of delightful mystery—a white patch for a boy to dream gloriously over.” As he was in “Youth,” he is still looking for adventure and glory.
KeywordsBurning Ghost Mast Congo
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