Heart of Darkness
Heart of Darkness
by Joseph Conrad

Heart of Darkness Chapter 3 Quotes Page 27

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How we cite the quotes:
Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph)
Quote 79

"It was a moment of triumph for the wilderness, an invading and vengeful rush which, it seemed to me, I would have to keep back alone for the salvation of another soul." (3.51)

The tables turn! Instead of the explorers "invading" the wilderness, the wilderness is invading the explorers. Hm. Doesn't feel so good when someone does it to you, does it, Marlow?

Quote 80

"[…] she [the Intended] went on, and the sound of her low voice seemed to have the accompaniment of all the other sounds, full of mystery, desolation, and sorrow, I had ever heard - the ripple of the river, the sighing of the trees swayed by the wind, the murmurs of the crowds, the faint ring of incomprehensible words cried from afar, the whisper of a voice speaking from beyond the threshold of an eternal darkness." (3.61)

Marlow associates the Intended's low voice with sounds of the wilderness. Sure, these are slightly friendlier sounds than we're used to hearing from the wilderness—trees swaying, rivers rippling—but they still make us wonder if the line between civilization and the natural word is all that firm.

Quote 81

"I had no idea of the conditions, he [the harlequin] said: these heads were the heads of rebels. I shocked him excessively by laughing. Rebels! What would be the next definition I was to hear? There had been enemies, criminals, workers—and these were rebels. Those rebellious heads looked very subdued to me on their sticks." (3.6)

Add "language" to the list of things that don't quite hold up to close inspection. The white men have called the Africans "enemies, criminals, workers" and now "rebels"—which is especially ridiculous, because the Africans haven't been allowed nearly enough power or freedom of choice to be called such things. (But it sure does make sticking their heads on sticks a lot more justifiable.)

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