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"Trees, trees, millions of trees, massive, immense, running up high; and at their foot, hugging the bank against the stream, crept the little begrimed steamboat, like a sluggish beetle crawling on the floor of a lofty portico. It made you feel very small, very lost, and yet it was not altogether depressing, that feeling. After all, if you were small, the grimy beetle crawled on—which was just what you wanted it to do." (2.7)
Though it would be understandable for Marlow to feel overwhelmed by his smallness, he twists his situation rather optimistically, saying that while a beetle is small, it still crawls towards its destination. Um, okay. And we're still going to smash it with our shoe.
"The reaches opened before us and closed behind, as if the forest had stepped leisurely across the water to bar the way for our return. We penetrated deeper and deeper into the heart of darkness." (2.7)
Nature itself seems to be cutting the pilgrims off from returning to civilization and condemning them to live forever in its nightmarish jungle. It almost holds a grudge against them for invading its territory, that heart of darkness of the novel's title.