Yes, I realize we are reading Heart of Darkness and that much of the book takes place in the Congo.
But where are we at the start of the novella? on a boat, right? The book says “the Sea-reach of the Thames“. I’m not sure where that is, but I’ve heard of the Thames before.
Wherever we are, we’re there with Marlow, the narrator, the lawyer, the accountant, and the Director of Companies. I’ve got that part.
Why are we on the boat? Something about a flood? I don’t get feelings of worry or desperation, so is this just the tide?
I get the idea that the opening setting isn’t very important. That it’s just a way for Conrad to trap some listeners for Marlow’s tale?
I can hear Marlow figuring it all out…
I want to tell a creepy tale about the inhumanity of civilized men in the deepest parts of Africa. I know. I’ll create a storyteller, and it will add to the mood of my book if I put my storyteller on a ship in the middle of the night. yeah… that’s it. And then I’ll make my storyteller talk about the time when he was on his boat in the middle of the night. It will make the listeners feel like their right there with him in Africa. Honey, call my editor. I’ve got a great idea!
Okay, maybe that’s not exactly what Conrad was thinking.
What were you thinking in the beginning pages of the book?