Heart of Darkness (Reading Three)
(pp. 38-59) pp.
- The Middle Station represents a progression not
only deeper into the jungle but also deeper into the nature of human
evil. What could be worse than the genocidal imperialism
manifested by the Chief Accountant at the Outer Station?
- How long does Marlow spend at the Central Station?
- How are conditions even worse at this
- What fever has possessed everyone there?
- How does Marlow escape and continue his journey
Trek to the Middle Station (16-17) (22-23)
- As Marlow treks deeper into the jungle, how does
his character transform?
- What is his attitude towards the native
- What happens to Marlow's white
companion (23) during
the fifteen day, 200-mile tramp to the Central Station?
Station (17-27) (24-38)
- What is the condition of the steamer
that Marlow is supposed to command? (18) (25)
- Carefully describe the General Manager
at the Middle Station. What is un-nerving about his smile? (18-19) (25-26)
- How does he keep control over the other agents? Why
does Marlow describe them as pilgrims?
excellent quote to support your analysis.)
- What does the General Manager think of Kurtz? (19)
Conversation with the Second in Command
- Why are the white agents at the Middle Station suspicious
of Marlow? Why do they believe he has been sent? (20-21)
- What do you think is the cause of the mysterious fire?
(20) (27-28) (Notice that the man who is blamed can be heard
groaning in the background throughout the rest of the chapter. What is
happening to Marlow's empathy for the natives?)
- Describe the General Manager's second in command,
Mephistopholes' with the 'forked beard'. What is he trying to
learn from Marlow?
- What is the subject of the
painting that Kurtz left at the Middle Station? (21-22)
- How does the agent
describe Kurtz' mission? (22) (31-32)
- What makes Marlow sympathize
with Kurtz even though he has never met him? (23)
The Un-named Narrator speaks:
- When Marlow pauses,
doubting that he can possibly communicate the meaning of his
experieince, the Un-named Narrator mentions how the story is
affecting him. He says, "The others might have been asleep, but I was
awake. I listened, I listened on the watch for the sentence, for the
word, that would give me the clue to the faint uneasiness inspired by
this narrative that seemed to shape itself without human lips in the
heavy night-air of the river." (51)
- What strategy does Marlow use to get the rivets he
will need to repair
the steamship? (24-25) (33-34)
- Who is Marlow's only friend
at this camp? (26) (35)
- What happens when the pilgrims fire their guns at the old hippo?
- What impact has Marlow’s two-month stay at the
Middle Station begun to have on his own mental health?
arrives at the camp instead of rivets for the boat? (36)
Overheard Conversation (pp. 56-57) (27-29) (38-41)
his third month living at the Company's Middle Station, Marlow has
taken to spending most of his days and every night aboard the steamboat
that he has been trying to repair. One afternoon he overhears bits and
pieces of a
conversation between the Manager and his uncle (28)
(38-41), the leader of the Eldorado Expeditionary Force.
They are talking, of course, about Kurtz. They believe that Marlow has
been sent on a special mission by the Home Office in Brussels to
determine what is going on at the Inner Station..
- Marlow also learns that only once has Kurtz made the
journey back to the Middle Station, but at the last moment, he turned
around and headed back into the wilderness. Since then, the rumor is
that Kurtz has been ill but hasn't recovered completely from his
disease. The only hard evidence of Kurtz's behavior in the interior has
been the steady flow of enormous amounts of ivory down river. At this
moment Marlow says that he perceives his first clear image of Kurtz,
- Why did Kurtz turn his back on civilization,
rejecting all thoughts of home and return to normal life?
- The Manager and his uncle also refer to 'the
pestiferous absurdity' of Kurtz's idealistic dreams of turning the
ivory stations into beacons of humanity, education and improvement for
- How could they have been so sure that the jungle
would end Kurtz's humanist mission?
Paragraph: The Middle Station
the conditions at the Lower Station and the Middle Station. Focus your
comparison on the characters of the Company's Chief Accountant and its
General Manager. How do these characters represent two points in a
progression towards Kurtz and Conrad's vision of human nature. Think
also about the effect of this journey upon Marlow's character itself.
How is he slowly turning into Kurtz?
Body Paragraph Four (continued):
have noted that the situation in the Congo has begun to wear down
Marlow's humanity. Yet Marlow is different from the other agents at the
Middle Station. He is stuck there, waiting for rivets to fix his boat,
but he manages to avoid turning into one of these 'rapacious
The Middle Station
has Marlow’s character itself begun to transform as he journeys deeper
into the jungle?
happens to Marlow’s white companion during the 15 day, 200-mile tramp
to the Middle Station.?
fever has possessed all the ‘pilgrims’ at the Central Station?
does Marlow find the steamer that he is supposed to command?
does the General Manager do at the meetings at the Central Station to
demonstrate his control over the other white agents?
do they believe Marlow has come to the Congo?
do the ‘pilgrims’ at the Central Station think of Kurtz?
is the subject of the painting that Kurtz left at the Central Station?
equipment does Marlow need to repair the steamship?
arrives at the camp instead?