The Heart of Darkness Review The Heart of Darkness is a short gothic novel written by Joseph Conrad. The short novel was written in the late 19th century, and takes place in the African Congo. The novella was written towards the middle of Conrad’s life. It is believed that Conrad wrote this story based off of his belief of existentialism, which is the belief that the only meanings of life are the ones that you give it, that life can have no meaning at all if you do not give it one. This is very clearly portrayed in the character Mr. Kurtz, whose whole life is devoted to gathering ivory, and surviving in the harsh jungle of the Congo. Conrad, who was an atheist, saw life as one meaningless, chaotic, and pointless journey, such as that of the Congo where there is no God, no meaning to life, just survival.
The story is narrated by a man named Charles Marlow, who is traveling to the African Congo in search of an Ivory agent named Mr. Kurtz. Marlow is a riverboat captain with a Belgian Company whose business is trading in the Congo. On his journey in the Congo he notices the atrocity and inefficiency within the Company’s stations. Natives to the land are forced into labor by the Company, and go through brutal times of inefficient treatment and overworking by the Company.
Marlow then arrives at the Central Station where he is met by Kurtz’s Manager, an untrustworthy man. Marlow finds that the riverboat has been sunk and that he must spend the next couple of months waiting for parts to arrive so he can make the repairs necessary. In this time of waiting he learns more about the mysterious character Kurtz, whom he learned from the manager is ill, making waiting and delays even more long and pricey. Marlow will finally get the parts that he needs to repair the riverboat, and he and the crew set forth on their voyage along with some pilgrims (as Marlow would describe them) up the river.
The crew came across a hut, there they find a note and firewood waiting for them. The note states that the wood they have found was left for them, and that they should approach carefully up the river. Upon leaving the hut, they found themselves covered by a thick fog, and as soon as the fog clears the crew gets ambushed by and array of arrows, shot by unseen natives hiding in the thicket of the forest. The African helmsman is shot and dies at Marlow’s feet. Marlow and the crew then arrive at Kurtz’s inner station, all expecting to find Kurtz dead and passed. To their surprise a crazed Russian trader meets them at the shore and tells them all is well, and that he had left the wood for the steamboat. He goes on to inform them that Kurtz has made himself a deity amongst the natives and has gone on raids in regions nearby in search for ivory. In front of Kurtz’s station were several severed heads sitting on posts which portrayed his methods to Marlow. Kurtz is then brought out of the station on a stretcher by the pilgrims, when a mass of natives surrounds them and the station. Kurtz then speaks to them