- Slides: 19
Heart of Darkness Part I: Into the Heart of Darkness
Opening Scene l Establishes the mood of the novel l Paragraph l 2: “mournful gloom, brooding” Establishes themes: l difficulty distinguishing between reality and what appears to be l Director isn’t of Companies appears to be a pilot, but he
Opening Scene Cont. Paragraph 5: makes a connection to the brooding mood which evokes the past = famous men who have traveled the Thames l “Hunters for gold or pursuers of fame, they all had gone out on that stream…. . From the sacred fire” l l Establishes this sense of idealism in colonialzation
Opening Scene Cont. l Theme of existentialism: l Pg 56: “For the rest, after his hours of work…. ” through end of paragraph l The meaning, the real meaning is not knowing the truth, but in the search!
Toward the Heart of Darkness (Part 1 Summary) l l Waiting for the tide to turn, the men listen to Marlow’s story. He tells them how he has always been interested in Africa and how he used his aunt’s contacts in Belgium to find a job in a colonial trading post up the River Congo. Marlow starts a 30 day journey on the French steamboat until they get to the Company’s Outer Station. He stands in horror when faced with the living condition of the native people there and the way in which they are treated.
Summary Cont. l l Marlow spends ten days at he station which is run by a white chief accountant. Marlow hears for the first time about he extraordinary, best ivory-trading agent, Kurtz. Marlow begins a 300 kilometer journey on foot to his steamboat together with another white man and learns more about Kurtz. Marlow arrives at the Central Station and finds that his steamboat is stuck at the bottom of the river and that it will take several months to have it repaired.
Summary Cont. He meets the Station Manager and is told a lot more about the unique Kurtz, who appears to be presently ill. l As time goes by, Marlow is increasingly discouraged and upset by white men’s rules and behavior and interested in Kurtz’s ideas, principles, and success. l
Marlow’s Journey Part I l l On board the Nellie 4 men on a boat waiting for the tide to turn l l Flashback, London Marlow between jobs; an idle time for him l l Brussels Interviews for job 2 women knitting Doctor Visit with aunt l l l Lengthy Sea Journey Takes a French steamer to mouth of Congo River (would have taken him through English Channel, long coast of Iberian Peninsula, and along much of Africa’s coastline l l Journey up the Congo River 200 miles Describes total devastation l l l The Station Finds ship at bottom of the river Hears stories of Kurtz for the first time Preoccupied with getting ship ready
Marlow’s View of Women page 66 “it’s queer how out of touch…” l l l What is Marlow saying about women? Women live in an idealized world that has nothing to do with outside reality Is his view negative? Not really. He see’s the woman’s world as a beautiful place. The problem is that is cannot survive reality, so it must be protected and sheltered
Marlow’s View of Women page 66 “it’s queer how out of touch…” l l l What characteristics of Marlow’s life might have led him to this view? As a sailor, he might have had limited contact with women What is ironic about Marlow’s aunt getting him a job? She is sufficiently in touch with the real world to be able to get him a job--- something he couldn't do for himself. How might his view of women affect his reliability as a narrator? If and when the story involves females, we may have to question his presentation of them.
Marlow’s View of Black Africans l l l l What is troubling about Marlow’s diction? The use of N word In his voyage down the African coast, he observes people with “wild vitality. ” What does he mean? The men are energetic, very much alive, noisy. Still, to him, their faces are life masks, not like the faces of human beings. Once he starts up the Congo, the people look very different in what way? They are inert, ill, emaciated, near death What has caused this situation? European exploitation
Marlow’s View of Black Africans l l l l What phrases does Marlow use to describe the Africans along the Congo? Page 72 “black shadows of disease and starvation” Does he attempt to connect with them, or does he see them as “other? ” He does not deny their humanness. Still, he does not attempt to connect with them. He is with the company and they are just the natives. How might Marlow’s view of Africans affect his reliability as a narrator? Because he does not really understand the Africans; his view of them might not be accurate or complete.
The Mystery of Kurtz l l l What does the chief accountant at the first station say about Kurtz? Page 74 Top notch Remarkable Headed for huge success What rumors does the manager at the next station convey? Kurtz is ill and his station is in danger What does Marlow overhear as two men talk in the dark? Page 81 Kurtz problems can be seen as an advantage for other agents. This is a dog-eat-dog environment
The Mystery of Kurtz l l l Kurtz is just not a businessman, but also something of an artist. Describe the picture he painted. What does it suggest? Page 83 Blindfolded woman, robed; bearing a torch against a dark background. Symbolic: a blindfolded person, even with a torch, is not much help as a leader in the dark. Represents all women, all humanity, Europe, Imperialism
The Mystery of Kurtz How interested in Kurtz does Marlow seem to have been at this time? l Thought he could help Kurtz and thinks of him occasionally. l Paradox--- not very interested but curious l
Marlow on Imperialism l l l l He equates imperialism with theft based on racism Marlow identifies several “devils” (destructive forces of evil) Violence Greed Lust Imperialism How does imperialism qualify as a devil? What are its characteristics? Imperialism is lazy, arrogant, short sighted, destructive, cruel
Marlow on Imperialism When Marlow arrives at the station where his ship lies at the bottom of the river, he again refers to this devil. What does he mean? l The station reflects all of the negative characteristics of imperialism l
Marlow on Imperialism Describes his youthful fascination with maps. What simile does he use to describe himself and the Congo River? l Snakes l Fascinating but also dangerous and even lethal. l
Marlow on Imperialism One of the most famous phrases from this novel appears near the beginning: “the fascination of the abomination. ” What does this mean? l People’s attention is riveted by the truly horrible. l