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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)

Quote 100

"A clean-shaved man, with an official manner and wearing gold-rimmed spectacles, called on me one day and made inquiries, at first circuitous, afterwards suavely pressing, about what he was pleased to denominate certain 'documents.' I was not surprised, because I had had two rows with the manager on the subject out there. I had refused to give up the smallest scrap out of that package, and I took the same attitude with the spectacled man. He became darkly menacing at last, and with much heat argued that the Company had the right to every bit of information about its 'territories.' And said he, 'Mr. Kurtz's knowledge of unexplored regions must have been necessarily extensive and peculiar - owing to his great abilities and to the deplorable circumstances in which he had been placed: therefore - ' I assured him Mr. Kurtz's knowledge, however extensive, did not bear upon the problems of commerce or administration. He invoked then the name of science. 'It would be an incalculable loss if,' etc., etc. I offered him the report on the 'Suppression of Savage Customs,' with the postscriptum torn off. He took it up eagerly, but ended by sniffing at it with an air of contempt. 'This is not what we had a right to expect,' he remarked. 'Expect nothing else,' I said. 'There are only private letters.' He withdrew upon some threat of legal proceedings […]." (3.49)

The Company has all kinds of arguments about why they really need Kurtz's papers—devotion to science, legal right, etc.—but they obviously just want one thing: profit.

Quote 101

"And from right to left along the lighted shore moved a wild and gorgeous apparition of a woman." (3.13)

The fact that the woman is described as an "apparition" makes us think that Marlow isn't quite sure this woman even belongs in the same category as white women. You know how he's all chivalrous and protective of the Intended? We're pretty sure he doesn't feel the same way about this lady.

Charlie Marlow

Quote 102

"She walked with measured steps, draped in striped and fringed cloths, treading the earth proudly, with a slight jingle and flash of barbarous ornaments. She carried her head high; her hair was done in the shape of a helmet; she had brass leggings to the knee, brass wire gauntlets to the elbow, a crimson spot on her tawny cheek, innumerable necklaces of glass beads on her neck; bizarre things, charms, gifts of witch-men, that hung about her, glittered and trembled at every step." (3.14)

Woman or warrior? She walks regally and fearlessly, her hair is "done in the shape of a helmet," and she wears protective brass coverings. She's basically the opposite of the soft, fragile Intended—but does she serve the same purpose for the Africans? She seems to be a rallying symbol for the Africans just like the blonde European women are for Marlow.

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