Light vs. Dark
“It had ceased to be a blank space of delightful mystery-- a white patch for a boy to dream gloriously over. It had become a place of darkness.” (pg. 7)
When Marlow sees a map of Africa in a shop window upon returning home from a six-year expedition to the East, he remembers that as a little boy he used to look at maps and dreamed of traveling to the places he saw. He remarks that when he was young, so much of the world was undiscovered and therefore a “blank space” for him to fill with imaginings. This is seen a positive thing, the lightness of the world and how it has yet to covered. Upon seeing a newer map of Africa years later, Marlow no longer sees that open lightness. Instead, African is now a “place of darkness”. Darkness plays an important role in Conrad’s novel, so much that it is part of the title. Marlow often mentions how he was headed for a “place of darkness” and this is always seen as a negative thing. In such a story, the darkness can refer to many things but in this sense, Conrad uses darkness to let the reader know that Marlow is headed for a sinister place.