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"Mind, I am not trying to excuse or even explain - I am trying to account to myself for – for – Mr. Kurtz – for the shade of Mr. Kurtz. This initiated wraith from the back of Nowhere honoured me with its amazing confidence before it vanished altogether." (2.29)
Kurtz is described not as a whole human being, but as a "shade" or "wraith," something insubstantial that is literally a ghost of its former self and on the verge of vanishing into nothingness.
"And the lofty frontal bone of Mr. Kurtz! They say the hair goes on growing sometimes, but this – ah – specimen, was impressively bald. The wilderness had patted him on the head, and, behold, it was like a ball – an ivory ball; it had caressed him, and – lo! – he had withered; it had taken him, loved him, embraced him, got into his veins, consumed his flesh, and sealed his soul to its own by the inconceivable ceremonies of some devilish initiation." (2.29)
The wilderness deprives Kurtz of his hair, demonstrating another one of its dehumanizing powers. Like his hair, Kurtz’s flesh has been "consumed" and his soul has been "sealed" – cut off from the rest of humanity. Mr. Kurtz has lost both physical and spiritual aspects of a human being; he is no longer whole.
"[…] how can you imagine what particular region of the first ages a man’s untrammeled feet may take him into the way of solitude – utter solitude without a policeman – by the way of silence – utter silence, where no warning voice of a kind neighbour can be heard by the whispering of public opinion?" (2.29)
In the interior, men are deprived of the company of fellow men and the isolation warps one’s mind. The silence around them and the lack of others’ opinions render them unable to judge things soundly.