Heart of Darkness
by Joseph Conrad
Heart of Darkness Chapter 3 Quotes
How we cite the quotes:
Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph)
"The fact is I was completely unnerved by a sheer blank fright, pure abstract terror, unconnected with any distinct shape of physical danger. What made this emotion so overpowering was – how shall I define it? – the moral shock I received, as if something altogether monstrous, intolerable to thought and odious to the soul, had been thrust upon me unexpectedly. This lasted of course the merest fraction of a second, and then the usual sense of commonplace, deadly danger, the possibility of a sudden onslaught and massacre, or something of the kind, which I saw impending, was positively welcome and composing. It pacified me, in fact, so much that I did not raise an alarm." (3.24)
Marlow is struck senseless with fear, an absolutely pure terror, at the realization that Kurtz is gone. He describes this as a "moral shock" that quickly subsides into a more rational and less bleak fear of commonplace danger. It is disconcerting that "commonplace, deadly dangers, the possibility of a sudden onslaught and massacre" are "positively welcome and composing."
"Only the barbarous and superb woman did not so much as flinch, and stretched tragically her bare arms after us over the sombre and glittering river." (3.34)
The warrior woman is the only one of the native Africans who doesn’t fear the noise of the steam whistle. She doesn’t budge. Perhaps this is because she represents the wilderness, which does not fear the men but is only amused by their antics.
[Kurtz]: "'The horror! The horror!'" (3.43)
Kurtz’s final judgment on his life, his actions, mankind in general, imperialism, or his fate is one of deep and profound fear.