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HEART OF DARKNESS
 

HEART OF DARKNESS

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Conrad's masterpiece

Conrad's masterpiece

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  • Classe VA Liceo Linguistico “Raffello” Urbino
  • Heart of Darkness (1902)

HEART OF DARKNESS HEART OF DARKNESS Presentation Transcript

  • HEART OF DARKNESS (1902) Joseph Conrad (1857-1924)
  • Conrad’s life
    • born in Poland occupied by Russia, Prussia and Austria
    • Forced exile to Russia
    • Parents died early and he was brought up by an uncle
    • In 1874 he went to sea on French merchant ships
    • In 1878 he joined an English ship to the Far East and Australia
    • In 1890 he was sent to Africa (Congo Diary)
    • mental breakdown
    • he devoted himself to writing
  • The writer’s task
    • To record the complex pattern of life in order to explore the meaning of the human situation
    • no didactic aim
    • no search for amusement
  • SETTING
    • The ship
    • The river
    • Congo (exotic setting )
    • The jungle
  • Conrad’s STYLE
    • Themes: extreme situations, violence
    • Characters: solitary heroes viewed externally through their actions
    • His style is not straightforward
    • He uses time shifts
    • He found chronological sequence inadequate
  • Narrative techniques
    • Conrad used various narrative techniques:
    • FIRST-PERSON narration
    • an INVISIBLE narrator
    • Journals
    • Letters
    • Marlow (the same narrator in many novels and short stories)
    • More than one narrator
  • LANGUAGE
    • Conrad made use of an amazing variety of adjectives and complex structures
    • His dialogues are characterized by idiomatic expressions, questions and exclamations, dashes and interjections
  • Individual Responsibility & self-control
    • IDEALS of conduct
    • Honesty
    • Courage
    • Pity
    • fidelity
    • Sense of EVIL
    • Wildness
    • Hostile background
    • Contrast between professional duties v/s personal feelings
  • Imperialism
    • Imperialism is a system of political and economic dominance whose main aim was the search for profit
    • Conrad describes the brutal exercise of law on the natives
  • The historical context to the novel
    • I
    • The Belgian colonial imperialism
    • by king Leopold II who pursued his Congo interests in the name of philanthropy, anti-slavery and development of civilization in Africa
    • Ivory and rubber production (MAIN INTEREST)
    • physical mutilation and abuse (METHOD)
  • STRUCTURE of the novel
    • a series of stories narrated by Marlow (an observer –narrator) on board
    • minor characters also tell their own stories and views of Kurtz
    • Continuous shifts backwards and forwards
    • Suspense
    • Psychological realism
  • SYMBOLISM
    • The novel is rich in:
    • Imagery
    • Parallels (Thames & Congo, Marlow & Kurtz)
    • Symbols (traditional meanings are subverted)
    • Oppositions (light and dark, white and black)
  • INTERPRETATION
    • a quest for the self
    • a mythical journey
    • KURTZ once taken beyond the limits of his heart, suffered madness & died
    • MARLOW did not transgress his limits, he resisted in spite of the heart of darkness fascination and came back without fully understanding his experience
  • death and despair
    • The great adventure of Marlow’s life is a business of death. Congo is splendid but marked by death and despair (the heart of darkness)
    • Jungle drives white men crazy
    • There is only death- the death of goodness and civility
    • Kurtz through brutal action has felt the excitement that life can give you
    • Marlow feels he has lived incompletely
  • PLOT main points
    • CONTEXT: Ivory trade in Congo
    • TIME: end of the 19th century
    • SETTING: the cruelty of colonial exploitation
    • CHARACTERS: the narrator Marlow and Kurtz a company agent who had become a sort of idol for the natives
    • STORY of the expedition Marlowe arranged to bring Kurtz back to civilization