At some point in your reading of Heart of Darkness you are likely to make a separation between puzzles in the text that you think can be worked out, and others that resist the idea of a ‘solution’. Reread the passage in section 1 in which Marlow arrives at the Central Station and has his first interview with the manager, from ‘On the fifteenth day I came in sight of the big river again’ (Conrad, [1899] 1998, 1; p.162; all subsequent page references are to this edition), to ‘… with what extreme nicety he had estimated the time requisite for the “affair” ‘ (p.165). Marlow raises a number of explicit questions about the character of the manager and the sinking of the steamer. What answers are offered or implied?