Heart of Darkness
by Joseph Conrad
The Brickmaker Timeline and Summary
- Marlow meets the brickmaker after a shed burns down in the Central Station. The brickmaker is nearby, discussing Kurtz with the manager. We learn that not only does this guy not do his job of making bricks, but he is inexplicably wealthy. The implication is that he is in cahoots with the manager and making money illegally.
- The brickmaker engages Marlow in conversation. It quickly becomes evident that he is jealous of Kurtz. He begins trying to pump Marlow for information. Marlow is perplexed. He discovers that the brickmaker is interested in his aunt’s connections – the ones who got Marlow his position with the Company. Marlow accuses him of reading confidential Company mail because he could only get that kind of information by secret means. This shocks the brickmaker speechless.
- However, the brickmaker doesn’t give up there. He eventually comes back to Marlow with the truth. He has ambitions of becoming the assistant manager under the present personnel and Kurtz’s success in the interior has messed up his chances. He thinks that talking to Marlow will get him in touch with the higher powers. However, by this time, Marlow has tuned him and his endless babble out. When Marlow changes the subject to rivets, the brickmaker becomes cold and suddenly starts talking about a troublesome hippo. Now THAT’S the non sequitur of the century. It becomes evident that Marlow has no intention of helping the brickmaker.