Imagine yourself waking up in the middle of a cornfield, stalks rising high above your head providing constant shade. Your mission; first, to survive; second, to get out. One way leads deeper into the crop, the other closer to civilization. Fear is your foe. Your direction is the very linear cage that you"re entrapped in. Luck is your only compass.
In the novel, Heart of Darkness, the unnamed narrator experiences a similar ordeal. Although free will resides on a minute-to-minute basis, good fortune or lack there of, governs. Constant nagging fear is a foundation for survival throughout the mind-numbing trip due to the unfathomable stillness. The psychological stressors dilute the mind even more so than the physical ailments and setbacks. This is very apparent throughout the passage. The authors" infusing, almost repetitive language, gives the audience no choice but to place them selves in a comparable situation, and forces them to understand the narrators" angst. For example, the narrator describes seldom, daily physical encounters with setbacks such as snags, which hinder the boat, poor navigation, impenetrable overgrowth, the lack of nutrition, and the monotonous search for dry wood used as fuel to steam the boat.
In the excerpt, peace is no longer a benevolent term, "But it came in the shape of an unrestful and noisy dream. It was a stillness of an implacable force."(Heart of Darkness) Daydreams came as current, up to the minute, flashbacks. These recollections were responsible for this constant interminable noise, which the narrator would soon block out for sanity sake. The narrators" absolute isolation leads to the belief of a negative spirit that was always lurking behind causing more disruption.
Yet through all of these physical and mental battles, the author describes the hardships as somewhat of a learning experience and an adaptation to the harsh reality of his circumstances. "I got used to it afterwards; I did not see it any more; I had no time.