Joe Conrad

Joseph Conrad was a very talented author. He started writing at the age of thirty-two, and began
telling many tales of his life on the sea. In his youth he was a sailor and traveled to many places
such as the Orient, and the Congo. It are his experiences on the Congo that serves as his primary
source for his story The Heart of Darkness. This book was actually a story of a man, Charles
Marlow, telling the story of his experience in Africa. While in Africa, Marlow\'s attitude towards
life changes as can be seen in the following excerpts from the book.
"We live in the flicker-may it last as long as the old earth keeps rolling!" (68). When
Marlow gives that quote, he has not yet started his story. He is on a ship after a bad storm, and is
about to begin. This particular quote has a zest to it. It tells one to live every moment to the
fullest because life is but a flicker. This quote also tells the reader that Marlow wants to live a
long life. After finishing the book, his statement seemed a bit strange because Marlow\'s tone
became less enthusiastic at the end. However, Marlow survived through the experiences he told
in his story. If he is still able to look back at his life and say, "may it last as long as the old earth
keeps rolling!," then he must make the most out of it, and not let a few bad experiences change
his attitude towards it.
I couldn\'t help asking him once what he meant by coming there at all. \'To make
money of course. what do you think?\' he said, scornfully. Then he got fever, and
had to be carried in a hammock slung under a pole...(86)
This quote tells the reader much about the type of men that went to Africa. Most went
only for the money-not giving a second thought to their health and safety. This particular man
got deathly ill, and still was concerned only for money. Conrad was making a statement in this
quote that too many people today do things only for money. Nobody works because they have a
passion for what they do. People are too willing to put their lives on the line just to make a little
money. Marlow was disgusted when the man snapped at him. Marlow he went to Africa because
he had desired to do so since he was a little boy. He was an explorer at heart, and did not risk his
life for money. People should follow their heart, not the money, and go where it takes them.
"I don\'t like to work-no man does- but I like what is in the work- the chance to find
yourself." (97). In this quote, Marlow takes his first steps aboard his ship, and is overwhelmed
by all that needs to be done. His ship had sunk before he had arrived in Africa, and he had to
live in a station for two months while his ship was brought back to shore for repairs. His
comment on work shows the reader how much Marlow enjoys every aspect of life, much like
the first quote. When someone works, he learns about himself. He learns what he is capable of
doing, how quickly he can do it, and also how well he is able to perform the task. When Marlow
stepped on his ship, he not only saw a crisis, but also an opportunity to learn about how well he
could perform in his new environment. This quote also expresses Conrad\'s view on work and
money just as the previous quote did-one should work not purely for the money, but for the
chance to learn something about oneself.
As the story progressed, and as Marlow told of how he traveled through the Congo, the
story became more creechy. Often times, Marlow would give long wordy descriptions of a slave
who was suffering, or a shipmate who was sick. He also changed as the story developed. In this
quote, "We penetrated deeper and deeper into the heart of darkness.," (105) Marlow shows this
changing mood. Surrounded mostly by greedy men and tortured slaves, and no longer near
civilization, Marlow became a bit more withdrawn. "the heart of darkness" refers not only to the
darkest of the African Congo, but also to the soul of man. As man becomes separated from
civilization, and enters into a world he knows little about, he changes. His