The Swimming Pool of Darkness
The three stations in Conrad’s novella, The Heart of Darkness, serve as steps in a descent. When Marlow’s journey down the Congo is examined, it can be viewed as if it were a descent into the pool that is Africa. The stations themselves are attempts at oases within the harsh jungle, but, through exposure, have become corrupted by the darkness of the land. With each station, Marlow comes closer and closer to his final goal, the inner station where Kurtz waits for him. This final station represents a total and complete immersion into the “darkness,” and could thus be thought of as “the heart.” At each station Marlow is exposed to more and more of the savagery and chaos that is the essence of the darkness. The steps, or evolution, to this darkness can be seen through the characters and experiences that Marlow encounters at the stations.
At the Outer Station, the first stepping-stone into the pool, Marlow encounters the Chief A...