Heart of Darkness Short Essay - Answer Key

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1. What are the men doing at the beginning of the novel?

They are waiting for the tide so that they can begin their expedition.

2. Who is the narrator?

The narrator is an unnamed sailor, who has been positioned with Kurtz on the Nellie. He has no identity that the novel makes clear.

3. Who tells the majority of the story?

Marlow tells the majority of the story, though there are various pauses in which we return to the narrator’s perspective.

4. Who is Marlow?

Marlow is the sailor who captained the expedition down the river to see Kurtz, in Africa. He is now working out of London once more.

5. What explorer does the narrator consider at the beginning of the story?

The narrator considers Francis Drake, as one of the empire builders who created Britain.

6. What is brute force needed for, in the narrator’s opinion?

The narrator states that brute force is needed to create empires, which is a redeeming quality.

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