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Heart of Darkness

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It will help you to know about Joseph Conrad and his writing style. Literature background of it. Historical content of Africa and the Congo River.

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Heart of Darkness

  1. 1.  After completing this lesson, students will be able to:  The background of The Heart of Darkness .  What is a frame story?  What is modernism in Literature?  The essence of Darkness in novella.  Themes of novella.  Know about colonalization and imperializm.
  2. 2.  Africa was also known as ‘dark continent’.  1880 - 1900 : Partition and Scramble for Africa  People of Africa was uncivilized and European wants to make them civilized.  But there was hypocrisy in it.  In this novella narrator show the dark side of the European’s.
  3. 3.  Heart of Darkness originally appeared serially in Blackwood's Magazine in 1899.  It was eventually published as a whole in 1902, as the third work in a volume Conrad titled Youth.  Since its publication in Youth, the novel has fascinated numerous readers and critics, almost all of whom regarded the novel as an important one because of the ways it uses ambiguity and (in Conrad's own words), "foggishness" to dramatize Marlow's perceptions of the horrors he encounters.
  4. 4.  Born Josef Teodore Konrad Nalecz Korzeniowski, in Podolia, Ukraine, 3 December 1857.  Conrad’s father and mother, Apollo and Ewa, were political activists. They were imprisoned 7 months and eventually deported to Vologda.
  5. 5.  Joseph Conrad was polish native.  He was multilingual person.  English was his first language.  Most important thing in this novella is that the main character of the novella is very familiar with him.
  6. 6.  Full Title: Heart of Darkness  Author: Joseph Conrad  Type of Work: Novella (between a novel and a short story in length and scope)  Genre: Symbolism, colonial literature, adventure tale, frame story.  Time and Place Written: England, 1898– 1899; inspired by Conrad’s journey to the Congo in 1890
  7. 7.  Setting (time): Latter part of the nineteenth century, probably sometime between 1876 and 1892  Setting (place): Opens on the Thames River outside London, where Marlow is telling the story that makes up Heart of Darkness. Events of the story take place in Brussels, at the Company’s offices, and in the Congo, then a Belgian territory.  Protagonist: Charlie Marlow
  8. 8.  Type of Work: Novella  What is Novella? A novella is a work of written, fictional, narrative prose normally longer than a short story but shorter than a novel. The novella is a common literary genre in several European languages.
  9. 9.  Heart of Darkness is a frame story (a story within a story). The first narrator sets the scene, describes the boat and the Thames, and introduces Marlow, the primary narrator.  The structure mimics the oral tradition of storytelling: Readers settle down with the sailors on the boat to listen to Marlow's narrative. › Oral storytelling brings with it associations of fables, legends, and epic journeys. Readers are introduced to the idea that the tale Marlow tells is a quest, a myth. › The story within a story technique also distances Conrad as the author. Readers are unsure whether they are reading the tale at second- or third-hand. It becomes difficult to distinguish whether the opinions expressed are Conrad's own or the narrator's.
  10. 10.  Heart of Darkness was published in the Late Victorian-Early Modern Era.  Modernism is an attempt to use language in a new way › to reconstruct the world of art as much as the philosophers and scientists had redefined the world of their own disciplines.  Played with shifting and contradictory appearances to suggest the shifting and uncertain nature of reality.  blended fantasy with reality while representing real historical or psychological dilemmas  raised age-old questions of human identity in terms of contemporary philosophy and psychology.
  11. 11. Note the following patterns in your books:  Three chapters  Three times Marlow breaks the story  Three stations (Central Station, Shack, Inner Station)  Three women (Aunt, Mistress, Intended)  Three central characters (Kurtz, Marlow, Narrator)  Three characters with names  Three views of Africa (political, religious, economic)
  12. 12.  The title can be understood both literally and symbolically.  Literally, the continent is dark and foreboding, with an unexplored heart (the Congo) in its depths.  Symbolically, the "heart of darkness," is the journey of Marlow and his companions. Their travels can be understood as a journey into the exploration of the darkness of the men's souls (sin) , reflected back to them by the "dark continent" which they explore. Their journey out of the Congo can be interpreted as a parallel to man's redemption from sin, or as the dualism of man.
  13. 13.  What you think what darkness is?  Give your analytical view on theme?
  14. 14.  Light versus dark (inversions)  Man’s inhumanity to man (injustices)  Hypocrisy of imperialism (“whited sepulchers”)  Unrestrained lusts (versus “restraint”)  Savage (“the other”) vs. civilized  Internal heart of darkness (interior versus exterior)  Madness (rational versus irrational)  Absurdity of evil  Isolation / Alienation
  15. 15.  The protagonist of Heart of Darkness, Marlow is philosophical, independent-minded, and generally skeptical of those around him. He is also a master storyteller, eloquent and able to draw his listeners into his tale. Although Marlow shares many of his fellow Europeans’ prejudices, he has seen enough of the world and has encountered enough debased white men to make him skeptical of imperialism.
  16. 16.  Conrad voyaged to the Congo in 1890, when he sailed a steamboat up the Congo River just as Marlow does in the novel.  Numerous biographical facts find their way into the novel. For example, like Marlow, Conrad had always longed to "follow the sea," the wife of a distant relative (like Marlow's aunt) helped him secure a job with a trading company, the captain who preceded him had been killed by natives in a quarrel (like Fresleven in the novel), and Conrad encountered several men who showed barbaric tendencies similar to the ones exhibited by Kurtz.
  17. 17.  "At that time there were many blank spaces on the earth, and when I saw one that looked particularly inviting on a map (but they all look that) I would put my finger on it and say, "When I grow up I will go there. . . True, by this time it was not a blank space any more. I had got filled in since my boyhood with rivers and lakes and names. It had ceased to be a blank space of delightful mystery -- a white patch for a boy to dream gloriously over. It had become a place of darkness“ (Conrad 5).
  18. 18.  The chief of the Inner Station and the object of Marlow’s quest. Kurtz is a man who understands the power of words, and his writings are marked by an eloquence that obscures their horrifying message. Although he remains an enigma even to Marlow, Kurtz clearly exerts a powerful influence on the people in his life.
  19. 19.  In 1890, Joseph Conrad secured employment in the Congo as the captain of a river steamboat; this was also the approximate year in which the main action of Heart of Darkness takes place. Illness forced Conrad's return home after only six months in Africa, but that was long enough for intense impressions to have been formed in the novelist's mind. Today, the river at the center of Heart of Darkness is called Zaire, and the country is the Democratic Republic of the Congo, but at the time Conrad wrote of them the country was the Belgian Congo and the river the Congo.
  20. 20.  The river plays an important role in ‘The Heart of Darkness’.  The Congo river is the means by which the Europeans enter the region and use for transportation.  The river symbolize the invisible thread that connected our good side with our bad side.  The slow and difficult journey suggest that the journey into oneself is both a slow and difficult one.
  21. 21.  King Leopold II wants to use Congo for his own benefits but he showed hypocrisy to others.  Leopold II described his motives to the rest of Europe as springing from a desire to end slavery in the Congo and civilize the natives, but his actual desires were for material gain.  Leopold II, who was to be sole ruler of this land, never set foot in the Congo Free State. Instead, he formed a company, called simply “the Company” in Heart of Darkness, that ran the country for him.
  22. 22.  In 1892, Leopold II declared all natural resources in the Congo Free State to be his property. This meant the Belgians could stop dealing with African traders and simply take what they wanted themselves. As a consequence, Belgian traders pushed deeper into Africa in search of new sources of ivory, setting up stations all along the Congo River.
  23. 23.  The Belgian traders committed many well-documented acts of atrocity against the African natives, including the severing of hands and heads.
  24. 24.  Marlow sits at the Thames River in the evening with several other people and begins telling the story about how he entered the dark continent out of nowhere. No one wants to listen but he continues anyway.  Marlow expressed a desire to go to Africa and his Aunt got him a position as a captain of a steamboat of an ivory company. The previous captain Freslaven died in a scuffle with the natives and Marlow took his place.
  25. 25.  A few days later, Marlow travels to Africa and gets to the first station where he meets the accountant who keeps track of the funds in Kurtz’s company.  Marlow continues down the river on his steamboat with a crew of several whites and about 20 to 30 blacks.  As he travels down the river, Marlow comes across this shack where he picks up wood, and a note cautioning him to travel carefully.
  26. 26.  He continues down the river and becomes surrounded by savages in the fog.  Marlow is attacked by the savages.  Only Marlow’s helmsman died.  Marlow shortly reaches the inner station where he is greeted by the Russian who has been nursing Kurtz through a grave illness; it was he who left the pile of wood and the message.
  27. 27.  Kurtz is very ill and needs to be taken back to England, but he does not want to go. In fact, he is the one who ordered the attack on the steamboat.  Kurtz is worshipped by the natives and completely exploits them. Kurtz tries to escape to the natives but Marlow catches him and takes him back to the steamboat heading back for England. While still on the river, Kurtz said, “The horror, the horror,” then died.
  28. 28.  Marlow returns to England. He visits Kurtz’s intended who is still in mourning a year after Kurtz’s death. She still remembers Kurtz as the great man he was before he left. Marlow didn’t tell her what he had become before he died. When she pleads that Marlow repeat Kurtz’s last words to her, he can’t bear to shatter her illusions: “The last word he pronounced was--your name,” he lies.
  29. 29.  Apocalypse Now is a film that was directed by Francis Ford Coppola starring Martin Sheen, Robert Duvall and Marlon Brando  This film was based on Conrad’s Heart of Darkness.  Coppola takes the story to Vietnam. Captain Willard (Marlow) is sent on a mission to kill Colonel Kurtz who has gone renegade