Spent youth as a merchant seaman 1898 and 1899 wrote Heart of Darkness. This was after his journey into the Congo
Is man a free agent or is he subject to forces beyond his control?
According to Heart of Darkness, man cannot control his own destiny. Fate and the surrounding environment dominate and change a person. This is exemplified by the “darkening” of Marlow’s thoughts as he spends more time away from civilization. He considers killing Kurtz at one point and ends up despising “civilized” people by the end of the book. He is forever changed by his experiences
Every soul has its dark truth and its light truth
You have to decide if Conrad is evaluating this dark and light
Evaluation is deciding whether it is positive or negative
If we all have the propensity for the darkness, then we all have the potential for light
“Life inevitably finds out who you truly are by placing one in a situation which most severely tests his values.”
Marlow is tested and is an emissary of light and finds out that none of the emissaries of light are necessarily bringers of light.
Marlow is “placed” and “tested” by his journey in the Congo. He finds himself in the expedition and learns that he is not a truly “good” person.
When Society’s restraints are removed, and one is forced to rely upon one’s own emotional and spiritual resources, a person is often times proven to be “hollow at the core.”
From a Freudian perspective, we would all give into our ID given that all of our restrictions/restraints of society are taken away.
The greatest sin that a man can commit is his INHUMANITY to man.
The Africans were treated as a subservient race of people by the British. They were actually referred to as a subspecies of the white man. They were brutalized and forced into slavery for many years. Africans were often shown to be more civilized than the white people.
Cannibals were shown as a stark contrast.
Is there anything in which to believe?
According to the story in Heart of Darkness, the only thing that can be believed is that people are capable of any atrocity. Their religious beliefs and basic “goodness” is just a by-product of society’s rules and laws that have conditioned them. When they are removed, as in Marlow’s case, so are any beliefs that one might have.
Put a man into isolation and his true nature will be revealed.
Grass covers up men’s mistakes and accomplishments and enhances the idea that no matter how great or good or evil a man’s deeds are they are transitory.
Symbolizes the sick and putrid reason that the white man has lost all trappings of civilization
The doctrine that primitive man, because he had remained closer to Nature and had been less subject to the corrupt influences of society, is nobler and more nearly perfect than civilized man.
Conrad often referred to the Jungle on either side of the river as a beast that breathed and waited.
REMEMBER PERSONIFICATION WHEN WRITING ABOUT HEART OF DARKNESS
Misdirection: Conrad uses Marlow as a master of indirection. Much is left out of the story on purpose so that the reader must decide for himself what has occurred. The timeline is also distorted b this misdirection. Future and past become intertwined and the trip seems to take years instead of months.
Perhaps the best example of this is when Marlow is examined by the Doctor, who alludes to the “changes in individuals” that have been out in the Congo.
After Marlow visited his aunt he also had “a startled pause” at going to Africa. He was very wary of this because, being a seaman, he left his temporary “land” home all the time.
Another in class timed writing next Friday (April 1st)
You will be working in partnerships ONLY to create a map that illustrates Marlow’s journey through the Congo to finally meeting Kurtz and returning to England
You will need to use textual evidence to support all of your findings.
You must identify ALL of the following
How are they described?
What do these places represent?
Minimum of two to three quotes per place
How are they described?
What do these characterizations represent?
Minimum of two quotes per person
How are they relevant to any of the themes discussed?
Minimum of two quotes per symbol
You must include visual aids to represent your findings.
This includes page numbers and relevant book sections
Choose your partners carefully
A rubric will be assigned that will detail how much either individual participates in the entire project
Each partner will be asked to write a private letter to me of 1 page detailing how they felt their partner contributed. Along with my observations, these letters will contribute to the final grade of each partner.
If you would rather not rely on another student to assist you, please understand that you will still be responsible for the entirety of the project.