Heart of Darkness
by Joseph Conrad
Heart of Darkness Good vs. Evil Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph)
"I steamed up a bit, then swung down stream, and two thousand eyes followed the evolutions of the splashing, thumping, fierce river-demon beating the water with its terrible tail and breathing black smoke into the air. In front of the first rank, along the river, three men, plastered with bright red earth from head to foot, strutted to and fro restlessly. When we came abreast again, they faced the river, stamped their feet, nodded their horned heads, swayed their scarlet bodies; they shook towards the fierce river-demon a bunch of black feathers, a mangy skin with a pendent tail - something that looked a dried gourd; they shouted periodically together strings of amazing words that resembled no sounds of human language; and the deep murmurs of the crowd, interrupted suddenly, were like the responses of some satanic litany." (3.30)
Both groups—the white men and black men—come off looking pretty bad in this description. Marlow's steamboat is described as a "fierce river-demon" while the native Africans waiting onshore are painted scarlet and shout in a "satanic litany." Hm. In a game of dodgeball between these two teams, we'd probably just sit out.
"And then that imbecile crowd down on the deck started their little fun, and I could see nothing more for smoke." (3.35)
The "imbecile crowd" of white pilgrims are evil because they want to shoot and kill the native Africans simply for a "little fun." Woohoo! That does sound like a good time. (Not.)
"But both the diabolic love and the unearthly hate of the mysteries it had penetrated fought for the possession of that soul satiated with primitive emotions, avid of lying fame, of sham distinction, of all the appearances of success and power." (3.37)
Kurtz may have gone over to the dark side, but he's not exactly going quietly. He's torn between loving and hating Africa and the colonial project—which actually seems like a logical response for someone in his position.