Heart of Darkness


Joseph Conrad

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One of the five men on the ship in the Thames, he is the one who relays to the reader Marlow's story about Kurtz and the Congo. He is insightful, and seems to understand Marlow quite well, but otherwise has little personality. He does seem to be affected by Marlow's story.

Narrator Quotes in Heart of Darkness

The Heart of Darkness quotes below are all either spoken by Narrator or refer to Narrator. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Colonialism Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Dover Publications edition of Heart of Darkness published in 1990.
Part 1 Quotes
The old river in its broad reach rested unruffled at the decline of day, after ages of good service done to the race that peopled its banks, spread out in the tranquil dignity of a waterway leading to the uttermost ends of the earth... Hunters for gold or pursuers of fame, they all had gone out on that stream, bearing the sword, and often the torch, messengers of the might within the land, bearers of a spark from the sacred fire. What greatness had not floated on the ebb of that river into the mystery of an unknown earth!...The dreams of men, the seed of commonwealth, the germs of empires.
Related Characters: Narrator (speaker)
Page Number: 2
Explanation and Analysis:
Part 3 Quotes
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.
Related Characters: Narrator (speaker)
Related Symbols: Dark and White
Page Number: 72
Explanation and Analysis:
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Narrator Character Timeline in Heart of Darkness

The timeline below shows where the character Narrator appears in Heart of Darkness. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 1
The Hollowness of Civilization Theme Icon
Work Theme Icon
The Narrator describes the scene from the deck of a ship named Nellie as it rests at... (full context)
Colonialism Theme Icon
In silence they watch the sunset, and the Narrator remembers the fabled ships and men of English history who set sail from the Thames... (full context)
The Lack of Truth Theme Icon
...who see and know him, can at least "see more than I could then." The Narrator observes that it was now so dark they couldn't see Marlow at all. (full context)
Part 3
Colonialism Theme Icon
The Hollowness of Civilization Theme Icon
The Lack of Truth Theme Icon
Marlow, on the Nellie still at anchor in the Thames, goes quiet. The Narrator looks off into the distance, and says that the Thames seems to lead to the... (full context)