Analysis Pages

Plot in Heart of Darkness

Plot Examples in Heart of Darkness:

Chapter 1

🔒 2

"“I don't want to bother you..."   (Chapter 1)

Heart of Darkness parallels the structure of Dante’s Inferno. Both have a concentrated darkness, with multiple levels leading to this core. This is the beginning of a lengthy passage of Marlow speaking. Remember that what’s on the page is the unnamed narrator’s account of what Marlow says, as indicated by the quotation marks. The story has first passed through Marlow’s memory and the narrator before reaching the reader. This method of relaying information mirrors the novella’s structure in how some information is diluted as it moves further from the core.

"yarns of seamen..."   (Chapter 1)

“Seamen’s yarns” refers to the stories sailors would tell about their travels. The narrator describes Marlow’s as being atypical because he doesn’t tell grand narratives with a central “point.” He is more focused on the events leading up to this “point” and the details surrounding it. Heart of Darkness is structured in a similar way, as importance is placed on the journey rather than the destination.

"in another existence perhaps..."   (Chapter 2)

Notice how Conrad describes the jungle as otherworldly and dream-like. Marlow feels distanced from reality, from a material existence, and is instead in some “noisy dream.” He and the other Europeans feel removed from real experience, potentially altering how they will perceive the stakes and consequences of their actions.

Analysis Pages