Notes on Heart of Darkness Themes

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Heart of Darkness Topic Tracking: Darkness Imagery

Part 1

Darkness Imagery 1: Before Marlow begins speaking, the sun is setting and dark clouds hang over the river.

Darkness Imagery 2: The knitting women in the office were sitting outside what Marlow calls "the door of Darkness," knitting black wool.

Darkness Imagery 3: The jungle that Marlow sailed along was extremely dark and foreboding.

Part 2

Darkness Imagery 4: As night fell, the manager's uncle pointed directly at the "profound darkness" of the jungle.

Darkness Imagery 5: Marlow describes his ship's course up the river as heading directly and deeply into the "heart of darkness."

Darkness Imagery 6: Marlow tells his shipmates that Kurtz belonged to the "powers of darkness."

Part 3

Darkness Imagery 7: In the middle of the night, Marlow awoke to hear chanting coming out of the "black, flat wall of the woods."

Darkness Imagery 8: Marlow says that his nighttime search for Kurtz had a "peculiar blackness."

Darkness Imagery 9: Marlow compares seeing the "impenetrable darkness" of Kurtz to looking down into a sunless hole.

Darkness Imagery 10: Marlow came across Kurtz sitting in the dark; as Kurtz died, Marlow blew out the candle he had brought in, and night was falling all around the ship.

Darkness Imagery 11: Marlow felt Kurtz as a "shadow darker than the night" as he entered the house of Kurtz's fiancé.

Darkness Imagery 12: The fiancé was wearing mourning black; and it was dusk when she came in the room. As the conversation proceeded the room became darker and darker.

Darkness Imagery 13: Night has come to the river; the narrator remarks on the intense, cloudy darkness around them.

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