Heart of Darkness
by Joseph Conrad
Heart of Darkness Chapter 2 Quotes
How we cite the quotes:
Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph)
[The harlequin]: "'So many accidents happen to a man going about alone, you know. Canoes get upset sometimes – and sometimes you've got to clear out so quick when the people get angry.'" (2.37)
The harlequin comments on the fickle nature of Fate in the interior. It gives men "many accidents," as if trying to kill those who dare venture into the interior.
"Going up that river was like traveling back to the earliest beginnings of the world, when vegetation rioted on the earth and the big trees were kings." (2.5)
The Congo River is a linear representation of time; the further the men go up it, the more they feel as if they are traveling backwards in time. The jungle they encounter is so thick and untouched that they feel as if they are traversing a prehistoric world.
"There were moments when one's past came back to one, as it will sometimes when you have not a moment to spare for yourself; but it came in the shape of an unrestful and noisy dream, remembered with wonder amongst the overwhelming realities of this strange world of plants, and water, and silence." (2.5)
In the weird, prehistoric world of the interior, Marlow’s own past comes flashing back to him. Though one would expect this to give him reassurance, to help him remember who he is and remain sane, it does quite the opposite. For the memories come back not as he remembers them, but wrapped in the unfamiliar disguise of an "unrestful and noisy dream." Thus, even one’s own memories become alien and unfamiliar in the reality-warping interior.