The “Heart of Darkness” by Joseph Conrad is a novel that focuses on the differences and similarities that occur between African and European societies. The book was published in 1899. There is no specific heart of darkness year; all of this happens in the 20th century. This article gives the Heart of Darkness summary and everything you need to know about writing the Heart of Darkness plot summary.
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It is important to note that Heart of Darkness was first published as a story in Blackwood’s magazine. It was about an observation made on a ship captain’s time. It also explores the ivory trade that took place in Africa. If you haven’t read the novel, the heart of darkness summary will give you important details of the book. The heart of darkness brief summary gives answers to ‘what is the heart of darkness,’ ‘what does Marlow learn when he overhears the manager and his uncle,’ and ‘who are the pilgrims in the Heart of Darkness.’ Read through towards the end to know ‘how does Kurtz die in the Heart of darkness.’
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Heart of Darkness Summary – Plot Overview
The novel is divided into three parts, parts 1, 2 and 3. When writing the Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad summary, it is important that you begin on a ship along the River Thames called Nellie. There are five people on board, the narrator, the lawyer, a man named Marlow, the Director of companies, and the accountant. These are the main characters of the “Heart of Darkness” book.
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Heart of Darkness Part 1 Summary
The old friends, the Heart of Darkness main characters, sit in silence until the narrator starts narrating about river Thames history, where the journey to dark places adventures begins. Marlow, the Heart of Darkness main character, interrupts the narration by stating that England used to be a dark place as well before Romans conquer. Marlow continues to tell his story as a captain on a riverboat in Belgian Congo.
In the Heart of Darkness summary, highlight that Marlow gets the job as a steamship captain on the Congo River through his aunt’s help. Marlow assumes the position left by a Danish captain, Fresleven, Heart of Darkness character killed by natives in a disagreement about black hens. He works for a European business by the name “Company.” He first travels to “whited sepulcher’, a European city, to visit the headquarters of the Company. It is important to mention in the Heart of Darkness summary that, here, he sees the map of the world. Marlow had been fascinated by maps ever since he was young and had travelled to these places. However, he considers one of these places, the heart of Africa, a dark space. Here, he meets strange things. Besides being stared at strangely by the receptionists, on his medical checkup, a doctor measures the size of his head and asks him if insanity ran in his family. Marlow then proceeds to Africa, Congo, to take command of his ship.
In the Heart of Darkness summary part 1, Marlow witnesses extreme brutality, negligence, incompetence, and waste on his journey to Africa. For instance, he sees a French warship shelling into a forest for no reason. He also comes across a grove where he witnesses emaciated black laborers wandering and working in squalid conditions.
Marlow in Heart of Darkness continues to narrate how he meets the Company’s Chief Accountant at the Company’s outer station. He spends ten days at the station occasionally talking about Kurtz. The chief accountant has a high opinion for Mr Kurtz as he brings in most of the ivory. Kurtz is in charge of the Company’s Inner Station found deep in the jungle. The accountant asks Marlow to assure Kurtz when they meet that everything is going on well.
Another important thing to note in the Heart of Darkness Joseph Conrad summary is Marlow’s hike to the central station from the outer station. It is a journey of 200 miles. It takes 15days to walk to the station. On arrival, he is told that the steamship he is supposed to pilot recently sank in an accident while trying to go upstream.
In the plot of Heart of Darkness, we discover that Marlow is hardworking. It takes him three months to repair the steamship. In the process, he learns that Kurtz is a man of enlightened morals has impressive abilities. He happens to be the Company’s best agent marking its advancement. He also learns that the general manager of the central station, together with his crony, the brickmaker take Kurtz for a threat fearing that he might assume their positions. Marlow is so eager to meet Kurtz, who is rumored to be sick at that time.
The Heart of Darkness summary of part one ends with the manager’s uncle arriving leading an expedition team of locals, the Eldorado Exploring Expedition. They are all greedy and lack the foresight to work
Heart of Darkness Part 2 Summary
In a Heart of Darkness summary, you want to isolate every different part of the entire novel to make it easy to comprehend by the reader. In the heart of Darkness part 2 summary, start by highlighting Marlow overhearing a conversation between the General manager and his uncle. In the conversation, the manager, Heart of Darkness character, expresses his concern about Mr Kurtz being influential to the Company as he collects much of the ivory.
The manager asks his uncle to frame Kurtz to the concern that a nearby trader is stealing the Company’s profits. Kurtz is supposed to arrive at the station with the last ivory shipment but fails to turn up because he is ill. The manager is also upset about Kurtz wanting the focus to be on civilizing the locals and not trade only.
Marlow finally fixes the ship and sails upriver with the general manager and some company agents. Marlow considers the agents as pilgrims since they carry staffs that resemble religious pilgrims. If you were wondering ‘who are the pilgrims in Hear of Darkness novel,’ you finally have an answer.
In the Heart of Darkness book summary, note that the journey is so long and difficult. Through the night, they experience native drum beats. The journey is delayed by blinding fogs and snags in the river, making the journey long. Before arriving at the inner station, they are attacked by natives who kill Marlow’s helmsman, a native, by a spear. Marlow uses the steam whistle to scare away the attacking locals. He is afraid that Kurtz is dead, and everyone on the ship is sure that Kurtz is dead.
The Heart of Darkness synopsis highlights that Kurtz had turned from an idealist to someone who embraced the savage customs of the land. In the Heart of Darkness Conrad summary, Marlow talks on Kurtz’s document “On the Suppression of Savage Customs” in his narration. Kurtz states that locals see white men like gods and consider them having the responsibility of enlightening them.
Heart of Darkness part 2 summary ends with the arrival at the inner station—they are surprised that it is still standing. A white man in ‘Harlequin’ clothes greets them and tells them that Kurtz is alive. As the manager in the Heart of Darkness goes to get Kurtz, the Russian man tells Marlow that the locals attacked the ship because they wanted Kurtz to stay with them. It is evident that the 25-year-old Russian man is influenced by Kurtz personality and thing very high of him.
Heart of Darkness Part 3 Summary
The summary of Heart of Darkness is not complete without part 3. It begins with the Russian narrating to Marlow how he was spellbound by Kurtz words when he first met him. He begs Marlow to take Kurtz with him so that he can receive better treatment. Heart of Darkness summart reveals that Kurtz had gone on raids with the locals where he got the ivory he sent—the ivory was not earned through trading but rather a spoil of war.
The general manager and a group of natives emerge from the hut carrying Mr Kurtz on a stretcher. The natives and a woman who seems to be Kurtz mistress in the darkness summary appear ready to riot but are calmed by Kurtz and go back to the forest.
At the central station, Heart of Darkness character, the Russian man, sees what the manager has for him and disappears into the forest. But before he goes, he tells Marlow about Kurtz ordered an attack on the steamship. That night, Marlow persuades Kurtz not to cause the attack when he sees him crawl into the native camp.
Towards the end of into the darkness summary, note that the steamship sets off the following day. As the ship leaves, the natives and Kurtz mistress come to the shore and curse the ship. Marlow scares them away with the steam whistle.
On the way, Marlow spends his time listening to Kurtz ideas and philosophies. Kurtz wants fame in Europe, but he is too weak to survive the journey. He hands his papers to Marlow and entrusts him for safekeeping. From the Heart of Darkness overview, the medical system is poor; that’s why they had to take Kurtz to Europe for better treatment. However, Kurtz dies a few days later. His last words are, “The horror, The horror!” He is buried in the jungle, something that sees Marlow depressed and falling sick.
Marlow survives the illness through the care of his aunt back in Europe. A man from the Company demands Kurtz papers, Marlow gives him “on the suppression of Savage Custom.” However, the man is denied what he wants to profit from. Marlow also gives some of the papers to his musician cousin and a journalist.
It is important to mention the last person Marlow visits in the Heart of Darkness short summary, Kurtz fiancé. She still wears black even though it has been a year since Marlow died. Marlow lies to her that Kurtz last words were her name—he doesn’t want to destroy her beautiful delusions.
Your into the darkness summary should end where it started, on River Thames, where Marlow narrates the story. Remember to remind the reader in your heart of darkness summary that it is a story within a story. The story ends, and Marlow falls silent. The narrator stares at the Thames. He thinks of it as leading “into the heart of an immense darkness.”
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Conclusion of the Heart of Darkness Summary
Writing the Joseph Conrad Heart of Darkness summary is not a challenging task. However, students are always operating on fixed schedules as they have other course units to concentrate on as well that completing all assignments on time becomes difficult. Seeking professional help on the Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad summary is recommended because the task is hefty; it requires one to read the entire novel before creating a summary. GPAFix has experienced tutors, editors and proofreaders eager to help.