Heart of Darkness Chapter I (pages 11-20)

Quotes for discussion before the test

“The old doctor felt my pulse, evidently thinking of something else the while. ‘Good, good for there,’ he mumbled, and then with a certain eagerness asked me whether I would let him measure my head”. (p.12)

In the above passage, why does Marlow need to visit a doctor?

“We gave her her letters (I heard the men in that lonely ship were dying of fever at the rate of three a day) and
went on. We called at some more places with farcical names, where the merry dance of death and trade goes on in a still and earthy atmosphere as of an overheated catacomb; all along the formless coast bordered by dangerous surf, as if Nature herself had tried to ward off intruders; in and out of rivers, streams of death in life, whose banks were rotting into mud, whose waters, thickened into slime, invaded the
contorted mangroves, that seemed to writhe at us in the extremity of an impotent despair”. (p.15)

What do you understand by “the merry dance of death and trade”?

“The black bones reclined at full length with one shoulder against the tree, and slowly the eyelids rose
and the sunken eyes looked up at me, enormous and vacant, a kind of blind, white flicker in the depths of the orbs, which died out slowly”  (p.19)

In the above extract the narrator is clearly referring to the aboriginals of the Congo. How is their health condition?

“They were dying slowly—it was very clear. They were not enemies, they were not criminals, they were nothing earthly now— nothing but black shadows of disease and starvation, lying confusedly in the greenish gloom”. (p.19)

In these lines, could we state that Marlow is a defender of the British Imperialism?


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