Heart of Darkness
by Joseph Conrad
Heart of Darkness Charlie Marlow Quotes
"There were moments when one's past came back to one, as it will sometimes when you have not a moment to spare for yourself; but it came in the shape of an unrestful and noisy dream, remembered with wonder amongst the overwhelming realities of this strange world of plants, and water, and silence." (2.5)
In the weird, prehistoric world of the interior, Marlow’s own past comes flashing back to him. Though one would expect this to give him reassurance, to help him remember who he is and remain sane, it does quite the opposite. For the memories come back not as he remembers them, but wrapped in the unfamiliar disguise of an "unrestful and noisy dream." Thus, even one’s own memories become alien and unfamiliar in the reality-warping interior.
"I don't think a single one of them had any clear idea of time, as we at the end of countless ages have. They still belonged to the beginnings of time […]." (2.14)
Marlow observes that the native Africans’ concept of time is far different from the linear European one. However, he is arrogant about it and assumes that they have no concept of time whatsoever, never entertaining the thought that theirs might simply be different.
"[…] the memory of that time itself lingers around me, impalpable, like a dying vibration of one immense jabber, silly, atrocious, sordid, savage, or simply mean, without any kind of sense." (2.27)
In the present, Marlow comments that the memory of his journey up the Congo remains with him, as if he is constantly caught in that journey and cannot break free of it.