© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
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)

"'You made notes in Russian?' I asked. He nodded. 'I thought they were written in cipher,' I said." (2.37)

Language does not function well in the interior. For example, Marlow mistakes the harlequin’s Russian notes for cipher simply because he cannot read them.

The Harlequin

Quote 2

[The harlequin]: "'At first old Van Shuyten would tell me to go to the devil,' he narrated with keen enjoyment; 'but I stuck to him, and talked and talked, till at last he got afraid I would talk the hind-leg off his favourite dog, so he gave me some cheap things and a few guns, and told me he hoped he would never see my face again.’" (2.36)

The harlequin uses language to wear down the Dutchman’s patience. The Dutchman eventually gives in to the harlequin, providing him with some supplies to face the interior. Thus, the harlequin has found that his tongue opens doors for him.

Mr. Kurtz

Quote 3

"There were no practical hints to interrupt the magic current of phrases, unless a kind of note at the foot on the last page, scrawled evidently much later, in an unsteady hand, may be regarded as the exposition of a method. It was very simple, and at the end of that moving appeal to every altruistic sentiment it blazed at you, luminous and terrifying, like a flash of lightning in a serene sky: ‘Exterminate all the brutes!’" (2.29)

Kurtz’s idealistic and moving words change suddenly with this postscriptum. His condemnatory tone here blazes "like a flash of lightning in a serene sky" and sends a message far different from the rest of his report.

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...