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Heart of Darkness

Heart of Darkness


by Joseph Conrad

Heart of Darkness Chapter 2 Quotes

How we cite the quotes:
Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph)

Quote 22

"'Will they attack?' whispered an awed voice. 'We will be all butchered in this fog,' murmured another. The faces twitched with the strain, the hands trembled slightly, the eyes forgot to wink." (2.14)

The pilgrims fear attack from the native Africans, who’ve just screamed somewhere beyond the blinding fog. Their fear is so potent that it has physical effects: their faces twitch involuntarily, their hands tremble, and their eyes watch the perimeter unblinkingly.

Quote 23

"You should have seen the pilgrims stare! They had no heart to grin, or even to revile me: but I believe they thought me gone mad - with fright, maybe. I delivered a regular lecture." (2.17)

The pilgrims think their captain Marlow has gone mad with fear when he does something as mundane as giving a lecture while everyone else is freaking out from paranoia.

Charlie Marlow

Quote 24

"The man had rolled on his back and stared straight up at me; both his hands clutched that cane. It was the shaft of a spear that, either thrown or lunged through the opening, had caught him in the side, just below the ribs; the blade had gone in out of sight, after making a frightful gash; my shoes were full; a pool of blood lay very still, gleaming dark-red under the wheel; his eyes shone with an amazing lustre. The fusillade burst out again. He looked at me anxiously, gripping the spear like something precious, with an air of being afraid I would try to take it away from him. I had to make an effort to free my eyes from his gaze and attend to the steering. With one hand I felt above my head for the line of the steam whistle, and jerked out screech after screech hurriedly. The tumult of angry and warlike yells was checked instantly, and then from the depths of the woods went out such a tremulous and prolonged wail of mournful fear and utter despair as may be imagined to follow the flight of the last hope from the earth." (2.22)

At the sight of his foreman dying at his feet, Marlow feels a stab of fear and a weird fascination with death that forces him to "make an effort to free my eyes from his gaze." After the Africans evoke his fear, Marlow returns the favor. He blows the steam whistle loudly and repeatedly, scaring the attacking Africans away.

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