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Foreshadowing in Heart of Darkness

Foreshadowing Examples in Heart of Darkness:

Chapter 1

🔒 4

"a world of straightforward facts..."   (Chapter 1)

The theme of appearance versus reality is a major one in the text. Marlow reflects that his reality before going into the Belgian Congo, one influenced by a European world narrative, was perhaps illusory and not representative of what the world is actually like. In his first moments in the colony, he felt superior to the Congolese, yet hints that his view later changes. The morality of the situation and his view of the people grow more ambiguous.

"the noble cause..."   (Chapter 1)

Marlow recounts the grisly death of the man whose position he had taken over. This characterizes the jungle as a wearying environment and hostile enough to drive men to murder, possibly foreshadowing some distressing circumstances. While Marlow’s tone is nonchalant, as he doesn’t express any disturbance, Conrad ironically calls this a “noble cause,” as the events Marlow describes are rather ignoble.

"unaware of what their audience would like best to hear..."   (Chapter 1)

Conrad foreshadows an unpleasant story ahead. He seems to be criticizing those who look to stories or literature for simple entertainment, rather than something that challenges their beliefs or notions about the world.

"wait for the turn of the tide..."   (Chapter 1)

Conrad opens with a very still scene: the boat is at “rest” and the wind is “calm.” However, the tone of “turn of the tide” foreshadows that this serenity will not last, creating an unsettling mood as the reader anticipates the oncoming threat to peace. This feeling of anxiety runs throughout the entire novella.

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