Notes on Heart of Darkness Themes

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Heart of Darkness Topic Tracking: Imperialism/Commerce

Part 1

Imperialism/Commerce 1: The narrator thinks about empire-building and humans' constant desire to conquer the earth.

Imperialism/Commerce 2: Marlow had to sign papers agreeing never to reveal trade secrets of the Company.

Imperialism/Commerce 3: Marlow tried to tell his aunt that profit, not the ennoblement of mankind, was the Company's purpose.

Imperialism/Commerce 4: The Company, with its complete control over huge numbers of native people and land, operated entirely for a small amount of ivory.

Imperialism/Commerce 5: When Marlow asked the fat man why he had come to Africa, the man replied that his goal was to make money.

Part 2

Imperialism/Commerce 6: Marlow implies that the seemingly noble, actually corrupt Kurtz was produced by all of Europe--that he was typical of the colonizer.

Part 3

Imperialism/Commerce 7: The quest for ivory became more important to Kurtz than the mission to civilize the natives--he began using violence and power to get more ivory.

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