"They wandered here and there with their absurd long staves in their hands, like a lot of faithless pilgrims"
John Bunyan
Public DomainJohn Bunyan - Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Illustration from Henry Altemus edition of John Bunyan's The Pilgrim's Progress (1890)
Public DomainIllustration from Henry Altemus edition of John Bunyan's The Pilgrim's Progress (1890) - Credit: Dalziel Brothers

Marlow is drawing on imagery from John Bunyan's 17th century Christian allegory The Pilgrim's Progress to highlight the materialism of the European colonists in the Congo.