Heart of Darkness
by Joseph Conrad
Heart of Darkness Chapter 3 Quotes
How we cite the quotes:
Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph)
"I was within a hair's breadth of the last opportunity for pronouncement, and I found with humiliation that probably I would have nothing to say. This is the reason why I affirm that Kurtz was a remarkable man. He had something to say. He said it. […] True, he had made that last stride, he had stepped over the edge, while I had been permitted to draw back my hesitating foot. And perhaps in this is the whole difference; perhaps all the wisdom, and all truth, and all sincerity, are just compressed into that inappreciable moment of time in which we step over the threshold of the invisible." (3.48)
Hm, this is interesting. Marlow believes that he's just as empty as the rest of them, and that only Kurtz managed to hold on to something real. Kurtz had something to say, something of importance and meaning, while he and the rest of the crew spoke meaninglessly. Marlow believes that the only way to not completely lose one's humanity in the interior is to "step over the edge." That sounds … pretty paradoxical to us, actually.
"'No!' she [the Intended] cried. 'It's impossible that all this should be lost — that such a life should be sacrificed to leave nothing—but sorrow. You know what vast plans he had. I knew of them, too - I could not perhaps understand - but others knew of them. Something must remain. His words, at least, have not died.'" (3.68)
The Intended can't deal with Kurtz being totally gone from the world. Luckily, Conrad wrote this book to keep his memory alive.
"I shall see this eloquent phantom [Kurtz] as long as I live, and I shall see her (the Intended), too, a tragic and familiar Shade, resembling in this gesture another one (the warrior woman), tragic also…" (3.73)
Marlow describes Kurtz, the Intended, and the warrior woman all as incomplete humans, as mere phantoms or shades. Does that make Kurtz feminized in some way? Or are women just always a little crazy?