Discuss the ways in which attraction and revulsion are linked in one text

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In Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, we find the protagonist Marlow, a man of adventure having sailed many a sea living in an era of the Victorian explorer David Livingstone who had not long returned from his African expedition in 1890. This is where tales of African exploration were told of different lands; those inquisitive minds couldn’t help but see the attraction of Livingstone’s journeys to this continent. Accompanied with this, is this new found land that is the reverse of Marlowe’s attraction to see Africa, it is where he gets a candid look at the reality of colonisation and imperialism. The journey for him finds the attraction and revulsion of it all.

In the opening scene, we see Marlow as the only one on the boat who still “follows the sea”. This seaman still sees the appeal of the open rivers and seas. He is a “wanderer”. Maps have always fascinated him, the blank spots, and those places yet explored. He wants to explore the inner Africa, the place associated with darkness. He wants to travel further into the long Congo, a captivating and extremely life-threatening river that lies like an immense snake. He remarks of the river that it is like traveling to the earliest beginnings of the world, the brilliant sunlit land offers ‘no joy’ but a “treacherous appeal”.

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