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Heart of Darkness

Heart of Darkness


by Joseph Conrad

Heart of Darkness The Brickmaker Quotes

The Brickmaker

Quote 1

"There was nothing but that wretched, old, mangled steamboat I was leaning against, while he [the brickmaker] talked fluently about 'the necessity for every man to get on.' 'And when one comes out here, you conceive, it is not to gaze at the moon.' Mr. Kurtz was a 'universal genius,' but even a genius would find it easier to work with 'adequate tools – intelligent men.' He did not make bricks – why, there was a physical impossibility in the way – as I was well aware; and if he did secretarial work for the manager, it was because 'no sensible man rejects wantonly the confidence of his superiors.'" (1.67)

The brickmaker goes all over the place with his speech, flitting from random topic to random topic and trying to make each one sound profound. He does not even notice when Marlow stops listening to him.

The Brickmaker

Quote 2

[The brickmaker]: "'He [Kurtz] is an emissary of pity and science and progress, and devil knows what else. We want,' he began to declaim suddenly, 'for the guidance of the cause intrusted to us by Europe, so to speak, higher intelligence, wide sympathies, a singleness of purpose.'" (1.59)

The brickmaker presents Kurtz to Marlow as a do-gooder, something of a missionary as well as a Company agent, who wants to bring all the 'civilized' European qualities like "pity and science and progress" to Africa. Um, this would be a lot more believable if the brickmaker weren't obviously corrupt.

[The brickmaker to Marlow]: "'You are of the new gang - the gang of virtue.'" (1.59)

We're not sure that "virtue" is a word that means anything in this novel, much less anything when applied to the pilgrims.