Marlows voyage up the Congo River in Heart of Darkness and the protagonists inspired exploration through the Congos most perilous terrain in Blood River contrast sharply.

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These extracts, Marlow’s voyage up the Congo River in Heart of Darkness and the protagonist’s inspired exploration through the Congo’s most perilous terrain in Blood River contrast sharply. Physical suffering dominates a large role in the theme of danger with conventions such as the river and its surroundings being a staple of the theme. These extracts use physical and mental anguish to illustrate various and comparable conceptions of danger.

Both Conrad and Butcher are describing a river journey along the Congo River in Africa. The river is treacherous and the journey is difficult; and they can only guess what lies further inland. However, both texts have a different purpose. Conrad was writing in 1898 and is openly criticising society’s beliefs at the time that colonial power is progressive and superior to other powers. Due to its critical nature it is considered as one of the earliest modern novels; because the novella is shedding a new light over the notion of colonialism and the bleak destruction it has both for the Africans and the Europeans who are colonising it. Unlike Heart of Darkness, Blood River is a travelogue, non-fiction contemporary journey of H.M Stanley’s 1874-77 expedition; which Butcher himself is recreating.

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Although Heart of Darkness was one of the first literary texts to provide a critical view of European imperial activities, it was initially read by critics as anything but controversial. The novella was typically read as a condemnation of an adventurer who could easily take advantage of imperialism’s opportunities. Conrad’s decision to set the novella in a Belgian colony and to have Marlow work for a Belgian trading concern made it even easier for British readers to avoid seeing themselves reflected in Heart of Darkness. Although these early reactions seem ludicrous to a modern reader, they reinforce the novella’s central ...

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