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Word Count: 9,224
Context The novel begins in London on board the British ship Nellie which is anchored in the River Thames An anonymous narrator listens to Marlows tale of his journey up the Congo River together with the Director of Companies the Accountant and the Lawyer What we read is the narrators recollections of Marlows tale From a very young age Marlow was always fascinated with maps and in particular Africa with its large areas of unexplored territory Through his aunt who has contacts with a Belgian Company he is able to secure a job as a Steamboat Captain to ferry supplies on the River Congo He eventually arrives at the Companys Outer Station in the Congo He witnesses a scene of desolation waste brutality and chaos While the local natives suffer under the yoke of colonialism the dominant whites enjoy a comfortable existence apart from the rigors of disease and hot climate At least they have plenty of food He has a discussion with the Accountant who is dressed immaculately and he first learns about their best Agent Kurtz who is in charge of the Companys Inner Station Kurtz obtains more quality ivory than all the other agents put together Marlow has to travel overland for some two hundred miles to reach the Companys Central Station where he will join his steamboat On arrival he finds that it has been wrecked and has sunk He will have to wait some time at the Central Station until the boat is salvaged and repaired Unlike the other whites Marlow enjoys hard work and he is determined to have his boat up and running as soon as possible He was also encouraged to come here by his aunt to help civilize the natives and bring them salvation He is also not concerned with personal gain out of his visit to this Dark Continent There is a suspicion that his steamboat was deliberately grounded with a view to putting pressure
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