Heart of Darkness

“Perhaps on some quiet night the tremor of far-off drums, sinking, swelling, a tremor vast, faint; a sound weird, appealing, suggestive, and wild- and perhaps with as profound a meaning as the sound of bells in a Christian country.”

Joseph Conrad, “Heart of Darkness”, in Heart of Darkness and Other Tales (New York: Oxford University Press Inc., 2002), 121.

I love how Conrad depicts the sound of drums in the night, as ubiquitous as the chirp of crickets back home. The comparison to the sound of bells in a Christian country provides a human connection. While bells may be the cultural norm in Europe to announce the time, celebrate a wedding, or mourn a death, drums could be used for similar occasions by the Africans. It turns an habitual sound into a kinship which is a beautiful and wonderful thing.

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