Heart of Darkness - Study Guide Chapter 5, p. 129-140 Summary & Analysis

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The Russian sailor tells Marlow about Kurtz, how he has enlarged his mind, and how he has been sick. The sailor seems to respect even Kurtz’ instability, and is impressed by the fact that Kurtz nearly shot him simply because he could. The sailor says that he tried to get Kurtz to leave with him, but Kurtz could not be pulled away.

Marlow says that the ‘ornamental knobs’ he had seen on the stakes outside of the Station hut are actually human heads, and he says that they cannot have served any civilized purpose. He complains that Kurtz lacked restraint, and says that Kurtz was “hollow at the core.” (p. 133).

The sailor tells Marlow that the heads are the heads of rebels, and Marlow says that he doesn’t want to know anything about the ceremonies Kurtz performed. As Marlow talks with the sailor, a group...

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