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Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

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Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad Some History and Background * What is it about? Heart of Darkness illustrates the evils of imperialism and the savage repressions ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad


1
Heart of Darknessby Joseph Conrad
  • Some History and Background

2
What is it about?
  • Heart of Darkness illustrates the evils of
    imperialism and the savage repressions carried
    out in the Congo by the Belgians in one of the
    largest acts of genocide committed up to that
    time.

3
Congo in the 1890s
Inner Station
4
Anti-colonialism
Conrad about colonialism
  • The conquest of the earth, which mostly means
    the taking it away from those who have a
    different complexion or lightly flatter noses
    than ourselves, is not a pretty thing when you
    look into it too much.
  • a taint of imbecile rapacity blew through it
    all like the whiff from some corpse.
  • In an essay Conrad calls the colonial
    exploitation of the Congo, the vilest scramble
    for loot that ever dis-figured the history of
    human conscience

5
Style
  • Frame Story story within a story
  • First narrator (who is unidentified) sets the
    scene.
  • Marlow takes over as the main narrator and
    central character of the story and tells the tale
    about Heart of Darkness
  • Basically, the first narrator is telling the
    story about Marlow telling the story about Kurtz

6
Meaning of Heart of Darkness
  • The darkness refers to the darkest side of
    human nature as seen in the brutal colonizers and
    ivory traders
  • Kurtz, and his hunger for power, which leads to
    his ultimate descent into madness
  • Refers to the colonialism and imperialism that
    the Europeans were practicing at the turn of the
    20th century.

7
Some Thematic Ideas in HOD
  • Existentialism
  • The philosophical idea that the individual is
    solely responsible for giving his or her own life
    meaning and for living that life passionately and
    sincerely. Focus is on the individual rather
    than the group.

8
What is truth?
  • The focus is not on what is true, but on the
    search for that truth. Thus, the real meaning is
    in the search, not the answer.

9
What is the meaning of colonialism?
  • The meaning of colonialism that one race is
    more powerful than the otheris maintained by the
    IDEA only the idealism of colonialism In
    other words, colonialism in and of itself is
    futile and does not work, what works is the idea
    of colonialism (very important as we will
    discover in Kurtz, the aunt, etc.)

10
  • The conquest of the earth, which mostly means
    to take it away from those who have a different
    complexion or slightly flatter noses than
    ourselves is not a pretty thing when you look
    into it too much. What redeems it is the idea
    only. An idea at the back of it not a
    sentimental pretence but an idea and an
    unselfish belief in the idea.

11
More Ideas and Themes
  • Irrationality
  • Lawlessness
  • Human Suffering
  • Chaos
  • (All produced and promoted by colonialism)

12
And of coursepsychology
  • Freudian Influences
  • Id
  • Ego
  • Superego
  • (represented in the three stations)

13
  • Outer Station
  • Ego-mans exterior self
  • external social appearance (ex. accountant kept
    up his appearance) superficial
  • Central Station
  • Superego-the conscience, keeps the Id under
    control
  • (ex. though the people in the Central Station are
    dangerously close to the wilderness, they have
    not completely given in to it.)

14
Journey up the river traveling into the darkness
of the unconscious mindInner StationThe Id
mans irrational and chaotic unconsciousness
(ex. no superego at the Inner Station to keep
Kurtz from forgetting himself).Reflects Conrads
idea that once the superego is removed as the
dominant control over the Id, control can never
be regained. If control could be regained, man
is forever changed and can no longer live with
the illusions of the Ego.
15
Archetypal MotifsA universal symbol recognized
by all
  • Journey up the Congo river in search of Kurtz
  • Quest (wealth, control, power, increased
    consciousness)
  • Hero (Marlow represents quiet, knowledgeable hero
    figuredescends into hell and returns with an
    expanded consciousness)
  • Temptress Kurtzs mistress
  • Outcast (the Russian Harlequinhis book allows
    him to maintain his sanity despite his idolatrous
    devotion towards Kurtz)

16
More Archetypes
  • Devil (symbolically)
  • The Congo River like the snake in the biblical
    account of Adam and Eve
  • Managerno noble intentions (wrecks Marlows
    steamer, delays arrival of rivets, orders the
    beating of the native child for the burning down
    of the supply building which he probably burnt
    himself, orders steamer to turn around within two
    miles of Inner Station, wants Kurtz to die)
  • Fall
  • The ultimate fall of Kurtz

17
Some Literary Devices(but there are many, many
more)
  • Irony created through a mix of tragedy,
    absurdity, and dark satire
  • Foreshadowing (of death)

18
Main Theme(but there are many, many more)
  • The difficulty in distinguishing between reality
    and what appears to be.
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