Heart of Darkness
Heart of Darkness Charlie Marlow Quotes Page 16
"I found nothing else to do but to offer him one of my good Swede's ship's biscuits I had in my pocket. The fingers closed slowly on it and held - there was no other movement and no other glance." (1.40)
Ship's biscuits: compressed cakes of flour and water. Yep, if we were dying that would definitely be the last food we'd want. Still, this little incident lets us see that Marlow is compassionate—or, at least, that he's able to take on the African perspective, just like Kurtz.
[Marlow on Kurtz's painting]: "Then I noticed a small sketch in oils, on a panel, representing a woman, draped and blind-folded, carrying a lighted torch. The background was somber—almost black. The movement of the woman was stately, and the effect of the torchlight on the face was sinister." (1.57)
Kurtz's painting starts out with some pretty conventional symbols: Liberty (symbolized by the torch) and Justice (symbolized by the blindfold). But Kurtz has put his own special twist on it: the background is black, and the torchlight is "sinister." Hmm. Looks like liberty and justice aren't as straightforward as they seem.
"I let him run on, this papier-mâché Mephistopheles [the brickmaker] […]." (1.61)
Just in case we haven't picked up on the fact that the brickmaker is totally corrupt, Marlow calls him Mephistopheles, the devil figure in Goethe's Faust.