Conrad Handout

English 203

Dr. Fike




  1. Principles of modernism at work in HoD:


    1. Primitivism—1643, 1655-47.


    1. The unconscious mind:

                                                               i.      Collective unconscious—1645.

                                                             ii.      Dramatization of the psyche:  superego, ego, id

                                                            iii.      Three options


  1. Setting:


    1. The setting at the opening of the novel: 


    1. The stops Marlow makes:

                                                               i.      Marlow visits his aunt; then he crosses the English channel.

                                                             ii.      1st stop: 

                                                            iii.      Returns to say goodbye to his aunt (1625-26)

                                                           iv.      On 1627 he is en route and sees a

                                                             v.      2nd stop:  Outer Station

                                                           vi.      Central Station:

                                                          vii.      Finds Towson's book, loses his helmsman, meets the Russian.

                                                        viii.      Inner Station, Kurtz: 

                                                           ix.      POINT:  K =

                                                             x.      POINT:  M's journey =


Group Activity:


Discuss the end of paragraph 1 on page 1620 (from "The yearns of seamen" to "the spectral illumination of moonshine







Discussion Questions:


  1. References to women appear on 1623, 1624, 1626, 1630, 1655, 1665, 1671, and 1675ff.  Do you agree with Johanna M. Smith that "the whole of his [Marlow's] story is seen to be a manful effort to shore up imperialism through patriarchy, through the nineteenth-century ideology of separate spheres"?  (The quotation is from her essay "'Too Beautiful Altogether':  Patriarchal Ideology in Heart of Darkness."






  1. According to Marlow, how does one overcome darkness? 






  1. What do you make of Kurtz's report on 1656-57?






  1. What does the presence of the Russian add in section III (1658ff.)? 






  1. What do you make of "The horror!" on 1673?  What does Kurtz mean?  Is Marlow right to call it "a moral victory"?






  1. Marlow lies to Kurtz's fiancée, the Intended.  What do you make of this?






  1. What has Marlow learned from his experience?