Tag Archives: gift of words

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.