© 2014 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
Heart of Darkness

Heart of Darkness

by Joseph Conrad

Identity Quotes

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #7

"Not the faintest sound of any kind could be heard. You looked on amazed, and began to suspect yourself of being deaf—then the night came suddenly, and struck you blind as well. About three in the morning some large fish leaped, and the loud splash made me jump as though a gun had been fired. When the sun rose there was a white fog, very warm and clammy, and more blinding than the night. It did not shift or drive; it was just there, standing all around you like something solid." (2.13)

The interior deprives men of their senses. Here, the eerie stillness of the wilderness and the darkness of night render the men both deaf and blind. Without eyes or ears, they have no frame of reference—and without a frame of reference, they have no clear identities.

Quote #8

"It takes a man all his inborn strength to fight hunger properly. It's really easier to face bereavement, dishonour, and the perdition of one's soul - than this kind of prolonged hunger. Sad, but true. And these chaps [the cannibals], too, had no earthly reason for any kind of scruple." (2.14)

This is typical of how Europeans of the time might have viewed the native Africans. They think that they had "no earthly reason for any kind of scruple," never taking into account that perhaps they do have scruples, just different ones. For example, we never see any Africans brutally beating and chaining any Europeans, do we?

Quote #9

"The lustre of inquiring glance faded swiftly into vacant glassiness." (2.23)

Marlow associates death with emptiness since he describes the dead foreman's eyes as "vacant" as opposed to a once living "luster." Now just get a whole bunch of them and send them after an intrepid band of heroes, and you'll have a hit TV show!

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement