Heart of Darkness

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General Manager Character Analysis

The head of the Company's Central Station on the river. Untalented and unexceptional, the General Manager has reached his position of power in the Company because of his ability to cause vague uneasiness in others coupled with an ability to withstand the terrible jungle diseases year after year. The General Manager has no lofty moral ambitions, and cares only about his own power and position and making money.
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General Manager Character Timeline in Heart of Darkness

The timeline below shows where the character General Manager appears in Heart of Darkness. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 1
Colonialism Theme Icon
The Hollowness of Civilization Theme Icon
The Lack of Truth Theme Icon
...sees with news that the ship he was supposed to pilot has sunk. Apparently, the General Manager had suddenly decided to try to reach Kurtz at the Inner Station with an inexperienced... (full context)
Colonialism Theme Icon
The Hollowness of Civilization Theme Icon
...the Nellie, says that though he can't be sure, he suspects that it's possible the General Manager wanted the steamship to sink. (full context)
Colonialism Theme Icon
The Hollowness of Civilization Theme Icon
Marlow is immediately taken to see this General Manager , who is thoroughly unremarkable in intelligence, leadership, and unskilled at even maintaining order. Marlow... (full context)
Colonialism Theme Icon
The Hollowness of Civilization Theme Icon
The General Manager explains why he took the steamship onto the river before Marlow, its pilot, arrived: Kurtz,... (full context)
Colonialism Theme Icon
The Hollowness of Civilization Theme Icon
The Lack of Truth Theme Icon
Work Theme Icon
...Marlow approaches he sees a laborer being beaten for setting the blaze and overhears the General Manager talking with another man about Kurtz, saying they should try to "take advantage of this... (full context)
Colonialism Theme Icon
The Hollowness of Civilization Theme Icon
The Lack of Truth Theme Icon
...follows the Brickmaker back to his quarters, which are much nicer than any but the General Manager 's. As they talk, Marlow realizes the Brickmaker is trying to get information from him... (full context)
The Hollowness of Civilization Theme Icon
...Marlow not to give Kurtz a wrong impression of him. Marlow realizes that both the General Manager and the Brickmaker see Kurtz as a threat to their dreams of advancement. (full context)
Colonialism Theme Icon
The Hollowness of Civilization Theme Icon
...Instead, a group of "pilgrims" calling itself the Eldorado Exploring Expedition arrives, led by the General Manager 's uncle. They are all greedy, cowardly, and without any sort of foresight or understanding... (full context)
Part 2
The Hollowness of Civilization Theme Icon
Some time later, as Marlow rests on his steamship, he overhears the General Manager talking with his Uncle about Kurtz. They are annoyed that Kurtz has so much influence... (full context)
Colonialism Theme Icon
The Hollowness of Civilization Theme Icon
Racism Theme Icon
...batch of ivory, but apparently came halfway down the river and then turned back. The General Manager angrily mentions Kurtz's conviction that the stations should be focused as much on humanizing and... (full context)
The Hollowness of Civilization Theme Icon
Work Theme Icon
A few days later the General Manager 's uncle and his Eldorado Expedition head into the jungle. Marlow later heard that all... (full context)
Colonialism Theme Icon
The Hollowness of Civilization Theme Icon
Work Theme Icon
Racism Theme Icon
...months of work, Marlow finishes repairing the ship. He immediately sets off upriver with the General Manager , a few pilgrims, and thirty cannibals as crew. Marlow prefers the cannibals, who don't... (full context)
The Hollowness of Civilization Theme Icon
Work Theme Icon
...cautiously." It is signed illegibly, but with a name too long to be "Kurtz." The General Manager concludes the hut must belong to the trader he wants to hang. Inside the hut,... (full context)
The Lack of Truth Theme Icon
Eight miles from the Inner Station, the General Manager orders Marlow to anchor the ship in the middle of the river for the night.... (full context)
Colonialism Theme Icon
The Hollowness of Civilization Theme Icon
The Lack of Truth Theme Icon
Racism Theme Icon
...marvels at their restraint in not turning on the white men on the ship. The General Manager authorizes Marlow to take all risks in going upstream, knowing full well that Marlow will... (full context)
Colonialism Theme Icon
The Hollowness of Civilization Theme Icon
The Lack of Truth Theme Icon
...and drives them off. A pilgrim wearing "pink pyjamas" comes with a message from the General Manager and is aghast to see the dead helmsman. (full context)
Colonialism Theme Icon
...knows that the steamship has been attacked, but says, "it's all right" now. As the General Manager and pilgrims go to get Kurtz, the harlequin comes on board and speaks with Marlow.... (full context)
Part 3
Colonialism Theme Icon
The Hollowness of Civilization Theme Icon
The Lack of Truth Theme Icon
Inside the cabin, an argument erupts between Kurtz and the General Manager . Kurtz accuses the General Manager of caring less about Kurtz himself than about the... (full context)
The Hollowness of Civilization Theme Icon
The Lack of Truth Theme Icon
The General Manager exits from the cabin. He tells Marlow that Kurtz is very ill and that Kurtz's... (full context)
Colonialism Theme Icon
...approaches. He has decided to slip away, correctly sensing that he's in danger from the General Manager and his men, and seeing nothing more that he can do for Kurtz. But before... (full context)
The Hollowness of Civilization Theme Icon
The Lack of Truth Theme Icon
As they travel swiftly downstream, the General Manager is pleased. After all, soon Kurtz will be dead and the General Manager will be... (full context)
The Hollowness of Civilization Theme Icon
The Lack of Truth Theme Icon
...concerned he won't live to see Europe. He gives Marlow his papers, fearful that the General Manager might try to pry into them, and one day tells Marlow that he is "waiting... (full context)