Tag Archives: Conrad

Never So Hopeless

“I looked around, and I don’t know why, but I assure you that never, never before, did this land, this river, this jungle, the very arch of this blazing sky, appear to me so hopeless and so dark, so impenetrable to human thought, so pitiless to human weakness. `And, ever since, you have been with him, of course?’ I said”

Conrad, Joseph. Heart of Darkness and Other Tales. “Heart of Darkness”, 165. Oxford: Oxford NY, 2002.

The thing that seems to Marlow the bleakest is not the suffering of the Africans, but the way that the Russian is enthralled by Kurtz.

The importance of words

“The man presented himself as a voice. Not of course that I did not connect him with some sort of action. Hadn’t I been told in all the tones of jealousy and admiration that he had collected, bartered, swindled, or stolen more ivory than all the other agents together. That was not the point. The point was in his being a gifted creature, and that of all his gifts the one that stood out preeminently, that carried with it a sense of real presence, was his ability to talk, his words—the gift of expression, the bewildering, the illuminating, the most exalted and the most contemptible, the pulsating stream of light, or the deceitful flow from the heart of an impenetrable darkness.”

Conrad, Joseph. Heart of Darkness and Other Tales. “Heart of Darkness”, 152. Oxford: Oxford NY, 2002.

When Marlow realized that he would probably never get to meet, or speak with, Kurtz was a very key scene in the story. Marlow went on and on about Kurtz’s ability to talk and the words he could use. This passage really stood out to me because it expresses how important voice and the ability to speak are, and what that gift means to other people. I thought that it was interesting that Conrad wrote about a character whose voice and words had such a great effect on other people, and maybe wanted his words to impact his readers as well.

A Tranquil Waterway

“The offing was barred by a black bank of clouds, and the tranquil waterway leading to the uttermost ends of the earth flowed sombre under an overcast sky — seemed to lead into the heart of an immense darkness” (pp. 186-7).

Conrad, Joseph. Heart of Darkness and Other Tales. Rev. ed. Edited by Cedric Watts. Oxford University Press, 2002.

Although this scene is quite crucial to the story as a whole, along with the title, as well, the narrator actually repeats himself here. To illustrate, on page 104 (beginning of Part 1) the narrator states the following: “…the tranquil dignity of a waterway leading to the uttermost ends of the earth.” There is a contrast, however, between the two times he states this. The description of the waterway in beginning expresses a more positive vibe, whereas the ending’s description is “dark” and somewhat mysterious.

Descriptions of the Forest

” ‘The earth seemed unearthly.  We are accustomed to look upon the shackled form of a conquered monster, but there–there you could look at a thing monstrous and free.  It was unearthly, and the men were—–No, they were not inhuman.  Well you know, that was the worst of it–this suspicion of their not being human”  (Conrad 139).

Conrad, Joseph. Heart of Darkness. New York: Oxford Universe Press Inc. 2008.  Print.

This particular scene within “Heart of Darkness” was interesting because it is a small description of the area and natives, which are essentially two of the biggest entities of the book.  The travelers, describe the natives the only way they can; they look like humans and act like beasts, from their perspective at least.  The jungle is described as unearthly, when it’s the most earthly thing that the humans have experienced.