I made the strange discovery that I had never imagined him as doing, you know, but as discoursing. I didn’t say to myself, `Now I will never see him,’ or `Now I will never shake him by the hand,’ but, `Now I will never hear him.’ 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 pre-eminently, 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. (p. 59)
Who is Marlow speaking about? What feelings does he have towards him?
Ivory? I should think so. Heaps of it, stacks of it. The old mud shanty was bursting with it. You would think there was not a single tusk left either above or below the ground in the whole country. `Mostly fossil,’ the manager had remarked disparagingly. It was no more fossil than I am; but they call it fossil when it is dug up. It appears these niggers do bury the tusks sometimes–but evidently they couldn’t bury this parcel deep enough to save the gifted Mr. Kurtz from his fate. We filled the steamboat with it, and had to pile a lot on the deck. Thus he could see and enjoy as long as he could see, because the appreciation of this favor had remained with him to the last. You should have heard him say, `My ivory.’ Oh yes, I heard him. `My Intended, my ivory, my station, my river, my–‘ everything belonged to him. It made me hold my breath in expectation of hearing the wilderness burst into a prodigious peal of laughter that would shake the fixed stars in their places. Everything belonged to him– but that was a trifle. (p. 61)
Who is Marlow quoting? How can he do that if he hasn’t met him yet?
…by the way of silence, utter silence, where no warning voice of a kind neighbor can be heard whispering of public opinion? These little things make all the great difference. When they are gone you must fall back upon your own innate strength, upon your own capacity for faithfulness. Of course you may be too much of a fool to go wrong–too dull even to know you are being assaulted by the powers of darkness. I take it, no fool ever made a bargain for his soul with the devil: the fool is too much of a fool, or the devil too much of a devil– I don’t know which. Or you may be such a thunderingly exalted creature as to be altogether deaf and blind to anything but heavenly sights and sounds. Then the earth for you is only a standing place– and whether to be like this is your loss or your gain I won’t pretend to say. But most of us are neither one nor the other. The earth for us is a place to live in, where we must put up with sights, with sounds, with smells too, by Jove!–breathe dead hippo, so to speak, and not be contaminated… (p. 62)
How does Marlow describe the Congo? What are his feelings in that place?
What they wanted to keep that body hanging about for I can’t guess. Embalm it, maybe. But I had also heard another, and a very ominous, murmur on the deck below. My friends the wood-cutters were likewise scandalized, and with a better show of reason– though I admit that the reason itself was quite inadmissible. Oh, quite! I had made up my mind that if my late helmsman was to be eaten, the fishes alone should have him. He had been a very second-rate helmsman while alive, but now he was dead he might have become a first-class temptation, and possibly cause some startling trouble. (p. 65)
Who is the dead person Marlow refers to? How did he die?
Why did they attack us?’ I pursued. He hesitated, then said shamefacedly, `They don’t want him to go.’ `Don’t they?’ I said, curiously. He nodded a nod full of mystery and wisdom. `I tell you,’ he cried, `this man has enlarged my mind.’ He opened his arms wide, staring at me with his little blue eyes that were perfectly round.” (p. 69)
Who speaks? Marlow, The Russian or Kurtz? Where is he at that moment?