Heart of Darkness
Heart of Darkness
by Joseph Conrad

Heart of Darkness Chapter 3 Quotes Page 5

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How we cite the quotes:
Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph)
Quote 13

[The harlequin]: "’She got in one day and kicked up a row about those miserable rags I picked up in the storeroom to mend my clothes with. I wasn't decent. At least it must have been that, for she talked like a fury to Kurtz for an hour, pointing at me now and then. I don't understand the dialect of this tribe.’" (3.17)

The harlequin does not understand the warrior woman’s speech. He assumes that she is talking about his clothing with no hard proof. She could very well have been blaming him for the coming of Marlow’s crew. Readers are as clueless about her tirade as the harlequin is. This is another example of language breaking down in the interior.

Quote 14

"Kurtz – Kurtz – that means short in German – don't it? Well, the name was as true as everything else in his life - and death. He looked at least seven feet long." (3.9)

The meaning of the German word "kurtz" is contradicted by reality. Kurtz is not short but "at least seven feet long." This demonstrates the divorce between language and meaning here in the interior.

Quote 15

"His [the harlequin’s] voice lost itself in the calm of the evening." (3.7)

Language is swallowed up and rendered meaningless by the African wilderness.

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