Heart of Darkness
by Joseph Conrad
Heart of Darkness Charlie Marlow Quotes
"In the street – I don’t know why – a queer feeling came to me that I was an imposter. Odd thing that I, who used to clear out for any part of the world at a twenty-four hours’ notice, with less thought than most men give to the crossing of a street, had a moment – I won’t say of hesitation, but of startled pause, before this commonplace affair. The best way I can explain it to you is by saying that, for a second or two, I felt as though, instead of going to the centre of a continent, I were about to set off for the centre of the earth." (1.30)
Marlow feels a nervous anticipation about starting his journey, as though Fate believes he is not capable.
[At the Central Station]: "One of them, a stout, excitable chap […] informed me […] that my steamer was at the bottom of the river. I was thunderstruck. What, how, why? Oh, it was "all right." The "manager himself" was there. All quite correct […]
I did not see the real significance of that wreck at once. I fancy I see it now, but I am not sure – not at all. Certainly the affair was too stupid – when I think of it – to be altogether natural. Still…but at the moment it presented itself simply as a confounded nuisance. The steamer was sunk. They had started two days before in a sudden hurry up the river with the manager on board, in charge of some volunteer skipper, and before they had been out three hours they tore the bottom out of her on stones, and she sank near the south bank….the repairs when I brought the pieces to the station, took some months." (1.50-51)
What seems at first an accident, Marlow later suspects to have been a planned attempt at sabotage.
"Poor fool! If he [the helmsman] had only left that shutter alone." (2.30)
Marlow laments his helmsman’s fate and wishes that he could have had the foresight to prevent his death. It is as if the helmsman was destined to die.