The image of Nostromo's hands, pictured as fit for work and even violence but now lying "idle upon a white coverlet," carries the allegorical tragedy of the People leaving their true calling for the "whiteness" of the dream of peace. The meaning is emphasized by his next line of dialogue. The hands are "dark" and "nervous," on the surface due to tanning and his wound, but allegorically reflecting the People's socialist deception.