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Heart of Darkness

Heart of Darkness


by Joseph Conrad

Heart of Darkness Chapter 3 Quotes

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

Charlie Marlow

Quote 40

"His [Kurtz's] ascendancy was extraordinary. The camps of these people surrounded the place, and the chiefs came every day to see him. They would crawl. '[…] I don't want to know anything of the ceremonies used when approaching Mr. Kurtz,' I shouted. Curious, this feeling that came over me that such details would be more intolerable than those heads drying on the stakes under Mr. Kurtz's windows. After all, that was only a savage sight, while I seemed at one bound to have been transported into some lightless region of subtle horrors, where pure, uncomplicated savagery was a positive relief, being something that had a right to exist—obviously - in the sunshine." (3.6)

Marlow still has a shred of morality left—let's say, enough to keep from downloading illegal music, but not enough to keep from sharing his Netflix login. He's not horrified at the thought of living in a world where evil can exist openly, but he is terrified by the thought of people (like the native Africans) openly worshipping evil.

The Manager

Quote 41

[The manager]: "'He [Kurtz] is very low, very low,' he said. He considered it necessary to sigh, but neglected to be consistently sorrowful. 'We have done all we could for him - haven't we? But there is no disguising the fact, Mr. Kurtz has done more harm than good to the Company. He did not see the time was not ripe for vigorous action. Cautiously, cautiously - that's my principle. We must be cautious yet. The district is closed to us for a time. Deplorable! Upon the whole, the trade will suffer. I don't deny there is a remarkable quantity of ivory — mostly fossil. We must save it, at all events - but look how precarious the position is - and why? Because the method is unsound.'" (3.19)

Let's count the ways in which the manager is depraved: first, he misrepresents Kurtz's condition and twists his words. Second, he tries to attack Kurtz's "method" by calling it "unsound." Finally, his words are just empty—which doesn't sound so bad to us, but is evidently the tipping point for Marlow. This guy is definitely getting unfriended.

Quote 42

"It seemed to me I had never breathed an atmosphere so vile, and I turned mentally to Kurtz for relief - positively for relief." (3.19)

You know things are bad when you're looking to the depraved warlord for moral and mental relief.

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