As he travels up the Congo, Marlow sees more and more deeply into the untamed forces in nature and the primitive instincts in men that lie beneath the arrangements, behaviors, and values that constitute civilization. He has a sense of being initiated into the truth of things, of being made aware of dark realities that were hidden from him before. But it is not until he arrives at the Inner Station that he feels he has penetrated to the very heart of darkness. In Kurtz he encounters a degeneracy which far exceeds that of the other Europeans and is much more unsettling than the simple savagery of the natives. Much of the remainder of his story is given to an account of how appalled he is by Kurtz; but equally important, I think, is his exploration of his puzzling sense of connection to this man. Marlow’s attitude toward the other Europeans seems unequivocal, but he feels an ambivalence toward Kurtz by which he is disturbed and that he is struggling to understand.
KeywordsPulsate Stream Moral Idea False Position North American Literature Moral Abhorrence
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