Victory By Joseph Conrad Summary and Analysis Part 3: Chapter 8

Summary

Back at his own bungalow, Heyst sees the lantern where Wang has left it on the steps, and behind him he sees the flame of the strangers' open fire with Pedro's uncouth shape hovering over it (Heyst is literally and symbolically between two fires). Heyst is troubled by vague apprehension of separation from Lena. His skeptical reserve is falling away. He no longer belongs to himself. There is "a call far more imperious and august."

Heyst asks Lena if Wang seemed startled when he set down the lantern. He admits that he is shaken and can hardly believe now that he doesn't see them, that such people exist.

Lena, who has been sitting just beyond the circle of lantern light, is thinking only of Heyst and her devotion to him. She has forgotten about the strangers. Now she seizes upon his words and turns them to herself. Will he forget her as soon as she is out of his sight?

Heyst realizes that the girl comprehends nothing of what has happened or the evil significance the invasion of these strangers brings. He cannot explain. Then, while standing within a foot of her chair, Heyst suddenly realizes that for a whole minute he has lost the sense of Lena's presence. He picks up the lantern and suggests that they had better go in. As they pass through the big central room, he leaves the lantern on the center table.

Analysis

In the presence of such danger as Heyst anticipates from the intruders on Samburan, the struggle in his soul seems to resolve itself on the side of love and trust. He recognizes at last the greater call — the call to shield and protect a loved person at any cost to himself. But the habit of many years must be reckoned with.

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