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Heart of Darkness

Heart of Darkness


by Joseph Conrad

Heart of Darkness Women and Femininity Quotes

How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph)

Quote #16

"And the girl talked, easing her pain in the certitude of my sympathy; she talked as thirsty men drink." (3.60)

This conversation with the Intended doesn't do much to change Marlow's mind about women.

Quote #17

"'. . . Who was not his friend who had heard him speak once?' she [the Intended] was saying. 'He drew men towards him by what was best in them.' She looked at me with intensity. 'It's the gift of the great,' she went on…" (3.61)

The Intended puts great store by Kurtz's words, believing that they lured men to him and earned him his admiration from all mankind. She's naïve about the true motivations of men, which we have seen to be far darker and more self-serving.

Quote #18

"'Yes, I know,' I said with something like despair in my heart, but bowing my head before the faith that was in her, before that great and saving illusion that shone with an unearthly glow in the darkness, in the triumphant darkness from which I could not have defended her—from which I could not even defend myself.

'What a loss to me—to us!'—she corrected herself with beautiful generosity; then added in a murmur, 'To the world.' By the last gleams of twilight I could see the glitter of her eyes, full of tears—of tears that would not fall." (3.62-63)

The Intended is so blinded by her love for Kurtz and her idealism that she immerses herself in the lie she created and does not even consider questioning its veracity. Marlow does not dare destroy her beautiful illusion, even when she goes so far as to call his death a tragedy on a global scale. (Er, there is a global tragedy here—but it's not Kurtz's death. It's the destruction of a continent.)

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