It is made apparent to the reader that the Europeans in Africaare no more civilized than the natives, that in fact they’ve committed more gruesome and destructive acts in the name of religion and country than the natives have in their simple effort to survive. When Marlow witnesses the natives he remarks: “They howled and leaped, and spun, and made horrid faces; but what thrilled you was just the thought of their humanity—like yours—the thought of your remote kinship with this wild and passionate uproar” (Conrad 100).
This is Conrad and Marlow’s admission that they realize how similar the hearts of both Africans and Europeans really are. Near the beginning of the novel, as Marlow’s ship approaches the opening of the Congo Riverthey witness a French ship blasting cannons aimlessly at the shore. This is one image that Conrad uses to emphasize the mind-altering effect that this foreign land has on its visitors by depicting the harsh welcome the ship receives when entering the mainland. The trope used by Marlow is a land as body analog. This is specifically apparent when he depicts the new land as a body of a female which is a fertile and organic place. The trope used also asserts Marlow’s criticism of colonial binaries and hierarchies.