pets endangered by possible book avalanche
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Oh, I just realized that this thread is on the ending of the novella. Conrad brings the story full-circle by having Marlow return where he began, to Brussels. He could have left this out, though, as his purpose for seeing the Intended is less than clear. He had something to give her, didn't he, but it didn't seem important. I guess we have to accept in the first place that Kurtz almost literally got under Marlow's skin; Marlow was devoted to him even while despising what he stood for. Marlow also had a strong sense of duty or rectitude that might have propelled him. But Marlow himself does not explain his actions rationally, and indeed hints that he was still suffering from an illness that made him hear hallucinatory voices ("The horror! The horror!"). This is spooky. Whatever his purpose, he seems to have completely broken down by the end of the visit. This man who earlier seemed to boast that he hated a lie, tells a whopper to the Intended. I at first thought this was excusable, but as I think Ophelia pointed out, he could have said he couldn't understand his last words, or used some other tactic.
I think why he doesn't tell the Intended about the Horror also goes to his attitude toward women. They can't handle the truth, he believes. They need to be shielded from the realities that men get themselves into, need to be the ones that keep up appearances back in Brussels. He makes such a statement earlier in the book. (If I had the text, I'd try to find it.)
If I had a vote, for what it's worth, it would be to leave this ending out. It gives Conrad a good dramatic opportunity, but Marlow seems here to act inconsistent with his character as we'd come to know it. That he felt mysteriously compelled to make the visit is not a motivation and doesn't feel right to me.
The Chinese philosopher is one who dreams with one eye open, who views life with love and sweet irony, who mixes his cynicism with a kindly tolerance, and who alternately wakes up from life's dream and then nods again, feeling more alive when he is dreaming than when he is awake.
Lin Yutang (1895-1976), The Importance of Living