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Heart of Darkness

Joseph Conrad

Part 1 (continued)

Summary Part 1 (continued)

The second figure presiding over Marlow’s departure is the Company’s doctor. The doctor is perhaps the ultimate symbol of futility: he uses external measurements to try to decipher what he admits are internal changes; moreover, his subjects either don’t return from Africa or, if they do, don’t return to see him. Thus his work and his advice are both totally useless. He is the first of a series of functionaries with pointless jobs that Marlow will encounter as he travels toward and then up the Congo River.