Heart of Darkness
by Joseph Conrad
Heart of Darkness Chapter 3 Quotes
How we cite the quotes:
Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph)
"Kurtz discoursed. A voice! a voice! It rang deep to the very last. It survived his strength to hide in the magnificent folds of eloquence the barren darkness of his heart. Oh, he struggled! he struggled! The wastes of his weary brain were haunted by shadowy images now – images of wealth and fame revolving obsequiously round his unextinguishable gift of noble and lofty expression. My Intended, my station, my career, my ideas – these were the subjects for the occasional utterances of elevated sentiments." (3.37)
Even when deprived of his potential kingdom, Kurtz speaks with moving eloquence. But now Marlow realizes just how "barren" and empty his words are. His words are now just hollow reflections of his dreams "of wealth and fame" and his favorite adjective, "my," is meaningless. Kurtz owns nothing now that he has been removed from the interior.
"Suppose he [Kurtz] began to shout? Though he could hardly stand, there was still plenty of vigour in his voice." (3.28)
Marlow recognizes that Kurtz’s voice, the only strong thing about him, can still be a vehicle of communication. Thus, it poses a danger to him.
[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)
The manager’s words mean nothing. They cannot even get near the heart of the situation because his thoughts are so warped by his own greed and jealousy.