Heart of Darkness
by Joseph Conrad
Heart of Darkness Chapter 2 Quotes
How we cite the quotes:
Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph)
"'And by the way, I suppose Mr. Kurtz is dead as well by this time.'
"For the moment that was the dominant thought. There was a sense of extreme disappointment, as though I had found out I had been striving after something altogether without a substance. I couldn't have been more disgusted if I had travelled all this way for the sole purpose of talking with Mr. Kurtz." (2.23-24)
Marlow just can't leave it alone: Kurtz is dead, but he's still obsessed with the man—so obsessed that he visits the Intended. We hope he got what he was looking for.
"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. And this stillness of life did not in the least resemble a peace. It was the stillness of an implacable force brooding over an inscrutable intention. It looked at you with a vengeful aspect." (2.5)
Marlow's very own comfy memories start to seem just as alien as the wilderness. This surrealism makes Marlow feel as though the jungle around them is alive and looking at him "with a vengeful aspect," and—as we all know—thinking that the world is out to get you is a pretty good sign of madness. (Usually. Unless there's a good reason they're after you.)
"The steamer toiled along slowly on the edge of a black and incomprehensible frenzy. The prehistoric man was cursing us, praying to us, welcoming us—who could tell? We were cut off from the comprehension of our surroundings; we glided past like phantoms, wondering and secretly appalled, as sane men would be before an enthusiastic outbreak in a madhouse. We could not understand because we were too far and could not remember because we were travelling in the night of first ages, of those ages that are gone, leaving hardly a sign—and no memories." (2.7)
Catching sight of wild native Africans in their homeland rouses fear in the pilgrims. They feel as if they have traveled to a place where nothing is comprehensible. They cannot read the attitude of the Africans towards them. Marlow compares their mental state to that of inmates in an insane asylum right before an outbreak—teetering on the edge of insanity.