check out our:
"Now when I was a little chap I had a passion for maps. I would look for hours at South America, or Africa, or Australia, and lose myself in all the glories of exploration. At that time there were many blank spaces on the earth, and when I saw one that looked particularly inviting on a map (but they all look that) I would put my finger on it and say, 'When I grow up I will go there.' […] But there was one yet—the biggest, the most blank, so to speak—that I had a hankering after."(1.17)
There's just something about a blank space on a map that makes Marlow want to fill it up. Come on, we're not the only ones hearing something a little sexual here, right?.
"[…] on one end a large shining map, marked with all the colours of a rainbow. There was a vast amount of red - good to see at any time, because one knows that some real work is done in there, a deuce of a lot of blue, a little green, smears of orange, and, on the East Coast, a purple patch, to show where the jolly pioneers of progress drink the jolly lager-beer. However, I wasn't going into any of these. I was going into the yellow. Dead in the centre. And the river was there—fascinating—deadly—like a snake." (1.23)
All the colors on the map means Africa isn't a blank space any more—it's been parceled up and handed out to Western countries. But even if there's no blank space left, that river is still there.
"Watching a coast as it slips by the ship is like thinking about an enigma. There it is before you - smiling, frowning, inviting, grand, mean, insipid, or savage, and always mute with an air of whispering, 'Come and find out.'" (1.30)
Pro tip: when the coast starts talking to you, it's probably time for some shore leave.