Relation Between Blindness and Dark in HOD (Heart of Darkness)

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  • Tue Blindfolded girl---Painting by Kurtz
  • Relation Between Blindness and Dark in HOD (Heart of Darkness)

    1. 2. RELATION BETWEEN BLINDNESS AND DARK
    2. 3. INTRODUCTION <ul><li>The topic of my presentation is an extract from Kurtz’s painting in the Heart of Darkness, so here is excerpt from the novella: ”Then I noticed a small sketch in oils, on a panel, representing a woman draped and blindfolded carrying a lighted torch. The background was somber—almost black. The movement of the woman was stately and the effect of the torchlight was sinister.” </li></ul>
    3. 4. SIGNIFICANCE OF THE TOPIC <ul><li>Of the many mythic feminine figures in Conrad’s novels and stories, one in particular has elicited fervent reactions: Kurtz’s small sketch in oils, representing a blindfolded woman carrying a lighted torch. </li></ul>
    4. 5. METAPHORICAL IMAGERY <ul><li>The woman’s figure in the painting recalls personifications of LIBERTY and JUSTICE, who are associated with the Amazonian Ideal. </li></ul><ul><li>With the paired attributes of torch and blindfold this woman appears both potent and disturbingly powerless. </li></ul><ul><li>In their efforts to trace the painting’s symbolic resonances; Critics have seen the figure as a symbol for Kurtz, for Europe blinded by the light of her civilization, or even for all mankind, groping blindly through the darkness of his existence. </li></ul>
    5. 6. Metaphorical imagery <ul><li>The image may be is about blind Europe trying to bring light to Africa, but this light marks the woman's face a sinister. </li></ul><ul><li>The isolation of woman is a symbol to Marlow’s idealism. This is woman is so separate that she is Painting; and she is so impossibly idealistic not real. </li></ul><ul><li>The black background is darkness imagery, where typically women are the light standing out in the darkness. </li></ul>
    6. 7. RELATION BETWEEN BLINDNESS AND LIGHT <ul><li>By force of repetition, Conrad implies that. Whether as essence or as social mandate, the relation between blindness and light is somehow bond up with women and femininity. For example, in Heart of Darkness Marlow’s aunt suggests that he is “something like an emissary of light”(12).But later in the narrative Marlow compares himself to a “Blindfolded man set to drive a van down a bad road:(34). </li></ul>
    7. 8. DISCOVERY OF PAINTING BY MARLOW <ul><li>In the novella, Marlow discovers the oil sketch in the room of the “Manager’s spy” at the Central Station, 200 miles from the African coast(24). </li></ul><ul><li>Marlow’s interest in the painting precedes his knowledge of the artist’s name. It is because of the oil sketch that Marlow aspires to meet Kurtz. </li></ul>
    8. 9. Understanding Of The PAINTING within the Larger Context <ul><li>Painting suggests Phallic empowerment; associated with victory over the feminine. As Marlow tells the man abroad the Nellie, “She struck me as beautiful”(72). </li></ul><ul><li>In western art and iconography, a torch in the hands of a woman symbolizes Wisdom, Knowledge, Empire, Liberty and Christian virtue; </li></ul><ul><li>The blindfolded woman represents Ignorance, Moral and Spiritual blindness. </li></ul><ul><li>The blindfold signifies disempowerment and lack. </li></ul>
    9. 10. LARGER CONTEXT UNDERSTADING of PAINTING <ul><li>The confrontation between torch and blindfold on the body of woman exposes the manner in which women come to represent lack, for men in the social order and draws attention to women’s disenfranchisement; it challenge male fantasies of power and the fetishized female body. In the Lacanian revision of Freud, Fetishism is understood as the means by which men conceal the damaging knowledge of their own disempowerment by displacing it onto women who are perceived as lacking. </li></ul>
    10. 11. CRITICS’ VIEWS <ul><li>Jeremy Hawthorn links Kurtz’s “portrait” of the blindfolded female” to the European women characters in a subtle act of displacement he adds that these are icons portraying that idealism which the Western imperialist powers use as apology for their exploitation. </li></ul>
    11. 12. <ul><li>Achebe: </li></ul><ul><li>(of the Amazon woman) “She is in her place and so can win Conrad’s brand approval; and second she is a savage counterpart to the refined, European woman who’ll step forth to end the story” </li></ul><ul><li>Lissa Schider: </li></ul><ul><li>describes the figure of the portrait as “disturbingly powerless.” </li></ul>
    12. 13. CONCLUSION <ul><li>What the novella gives us is not what Conrad the man thought about women, but Conrad’s artistic insight into the way in which gender divisions enter into the duplicities of imperialism. </li></ul><ul><li>And Ideals held in blind ignorance of reality do not bring good, but its opposite </li></ul>

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