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Title: A Novella by Joseph Conrad: Prereading presentation


1
Heart of Darkness
  • A Novella by Joseph Conrad Prereading
    presentation

2
  • "Only the gloom to the west, brooding over the
    upper reaches , became more sober every minute,
    as if angered by the approach of the sun...

3
  • And at last, in its curved and imperceptible
    fall, the sun sank low, and from glowing white
    changed to a dull red without rays and without
    heat, as if about to go out suddenly, stricken to
    death by the touch of that gloom brooding over a
    crowd of men

4
  • Forthwith a change came over the waters, and the
    serenity became less brilliant but more profound"
    (p. 100).

5
Background
6
(No Transcript)
7
Joseph Conrad Author of Heart of Darkness
  • Spent time as a steamboat pilot on the Congo
    river about 12 years before he wrote Heart of
    Darkness. He observed first hand the brutality
    and injustice of European colonialism in Africa.

8
(No Transcript)
9
Heart of Darkness
  • Heart of Darkness is a novella longer than a
    short story but shorter than a novel.
  • The story takes place in the late 19th century
    and over time the action moves from the Thames
    river in London to Brussels but the bulk of the
    story occurs in the Belgian Congo.

10
Heart of Darkness is a framework narrative.
  • The story begins with an anonymous narrator who
    is listening to Marlow tell his story about Kurtz.

11
Characters
12
Major Characters Marlow
  • He was the only man of us who still "followed
    the sea." The worst that could be said of him was
    that he did not represent his class. He was a
    seaman, but he was a wanderer, too (p. 101).

13
Major Characters Kurtz
  • a remarkable man (p. 162).
  • I am unable to say what was Kurtzs profession,
    whether he ever had any--which was the greatest
    of his talents. I had taken him for a painter who
    wrote for the papers, or else for a journalist
    who could paint--but even the cousincould not
    tell me what he had been--exactly. He was a
    universal genius (p. 172-3).

14
Other Characters
  • The two major characters in Heart of Darkness are
    Marlow and Kurtz but there are a number of other,
    minor characters that make an appearance.

15
The Manager and the Brickmaker
  • The General Manager- He was obeyed, yet he
    inspired neither love nor fear, nor even respect.
    He inspired uneasiness (p. 118).
  • The Brickmaker- as we chatted in there it
    suddenly occurred to me the fellow was trying to
    get at something (p. 122).

16
The Accountant, Helmsman, and Pilgrims
  • The Chief Accountant- I met a white man, in such
    an unexpected elegance of get-up that in the
    first moment I took him for a sort of vision (p.
    114).
  • The Helmsman- He was the most unstable kind of
    fool I had ever seen (p. 143).
  • Pilgrims- these men strolling aimlessly about in
    the sunshine of the yard (p. 120).

17
Cannibals and the Russian
  • Cannibals- Fine fellows cannibals in their
    place (p. 133).
  • The Russian- smiles and frowns chasing each
    other over that open countenance like sunshine
    and shadow on a windswept plain. (p. 152).

18
Kurtzs women
  • Kurtzs mistress- She was savage and superb,
    wild-eyed and magnificent there was something
    ominous and stately in her deliberate progress
    (p. 160).
  • Kurtzs intended- She came forward, all in
    black, with a pale head, floating towards me in
    the dusk (p. 174).

19
As you read
20
Look for
  • What Heart of Darkness says about
  • Imperialism
  • Hypocrisy
  • Madness
  • Evil

21
Keep a few questions in mind
  • Is Heart of Darkness racist?
  • Does Conrads work merely reflect the attitudes
    of the time in which it was written or is it a
    reflection of a deeper bias?
  • Whose story is it?
  • Marlow? Kurtz? The conquering colonists? The
    abused Africans?

22
Keep a few questions in mind
  • What is the climax of the story?
  • When, where, and why?
  • What are the similarities and differences between
    Kurtzs mistress and his intended?
  • What do they mean and what does the story say
    about women? Is Heart of Darkness sexist?
  • What symbols, motifs, and foreshadowing do you
    see in Heart of Darkness?

23
Perhaps most important of all
  • Is Kurtz evil? Is Marlow?
  • Why or why not?
  • Try to define what is evil?
  • Is anyone in Heart of Darkness evil?
  • Is anyone good?
  • What does Heart of Darkness say about human
    nature?
  • And who, if anyone, is the hero of Heart of
    Darkness?

24
Important Passages
25
Important passages. What do they mean? (p.120 1/2)
  • The word 'ivory rang in the air, was whispered,
    was sighed. You would think they were praying to
    it. A taint of imbecile rapacity blew through it
    all, like a whiff from some corpse...

26
Important passages. What do they mean? (p. 120
2/2)
  • By Jove! I've never seen anything so unreal in
    my life. And outside, the silent wilderness
    surrounding this cleared speck on the earth
    struck me as something great and invincible, like
    evil or truth, waiting patiently for the passing
    away of this fantastic invasion (p. 120)

27
Important passages. What do they mean? (p. 131
1/2)
  • In a few days the Eldorado Expedition went into
    the patient wilderness, that closed upon it as
    the sea closes over a diver

28
Important passages. What do they mean? (p. 131
2/2)
  • Long afterwards the news came that all the
    donkeys were dead. I know nothing as to the fate
    of the less valuable animals. They, no doubt,
    like the rest of us, found what they deserved. I
    did not inquire (p. 131).

29
Important passages. What do they mean? (p. 134
1/4)
  • The earth seemed unearthly. We are accustomed to
    look upon the shackled form of a conquered
    monster, but there--there you could look at a
    thing monstrous and free

30
Important passages. What do they mean? (p. 134
2/4)
  • It was unearthly, and the men were--No, they
    were not inhuman. Well, you know, that was the
    worst of it--this suspicion of their not being
    inhuman. It would come slowly to one

31
Important passages. What do they mean? (p. 134
3/4)
  • They howled, and leaped, and spun, and made
    horrid faces but what thrilled you was just the
    thought of their humanity--like yours--the
    thought of your remote kinship with this wild and
    passionate uproar

32
Important passages. What do they mean? (p. 134
4/4)
  • Ugly. Yes, it was ugly enough but if you were
    man enough you would admit to yourself that there
    was in you just the faintest trace of a response
    to the terrible frankness of that noise, a dim
    suspicion of there being a meaning in it which
    you--you so remote from the night of first
    ages--could comprehend. And why not? (p. 134)

33
Important passages. What do they mean? (p. 168
1/3)
  • "The brown current ran swiftly out of the heart
    of darkness, bearing us down towards the sea with
    twice the speed of our upward progress and
    Kurtz's life was running swiftly too, ebbing,
    ebbing out of his heart into the sea of
    inexorable time

34
Important passages. What do they mean? (p. 168
2/3)
  • I saw the time approaching when I would be left
    alone of the party of 'unsound method.' The
    pilgrims looked upon me with disfavor. I was, so
    to speak, numbered with the dead

35
Important passages. What do they mean? (p. 168
3/3)
  • It is strange how I accepted this unforeseen
    partnership, this choice of nightmares forced
    upon me in the tenebrous land invaded by these
    mean and greedy phantoms (p. 168).

36
Important passages. What do they mean? (p. 170-1
1/4)
  • I was within a hair's-breadth of the last
    opportunity for pronouncement, and I found with
    humiliation that probably I would have nothing to
    say

37
Important passages. What do they mean? (p. 170-1
2/4)
  • This is the reason why I affirm that Kurtz was
    a remarkable man. He had something to say. He
    said it

38
Important passages. What do they mean? (p. 170-1
3/4)
  • Since I had peeped over the edge myself, I
    understand better the meaning of his stare that
    could not see the flame of the candle, but was
    wide enough to embrace the whole universe

39
Important passages. What do they mean? (p. 170-1
4/4)
  • piercing enough to penetrate all the hearts that
  • beat in the darkness. He had summed up--he had
    judged. 'The horror!' He was a remarkable man
    (p. 170-1).

40
Important passages. What do they mean? (p. 178
1/2)
  • I wonder, if I had rendered Kurtz that justice
    which was his due?...

41
Important passages. What do they mean? (p. 178
2/2)
  • Hadn't he said he wanted only justice? But I
    couldn't. I could not tell her. It would have
    been too dark--too dark altogether (p. 178).

42
Citations and Resources
43
Images, Audio, Video, and Text
  • Image Citations
  • http//travel.nationalgeographic.com/places/images
    /photos/photo_lg_congo.jpg
  • http//english.cri.cn/mmsource/images/2006/06/16/c
    ongo500.jpg
  • Joseph Conrad. Corbis. 2006.Discovery Education.
    4 November 2008http//streaming.discoveryeducatio
    n.com/
  • http//static.guim.co.uk/Guardian/environment/gall
    ery/2008/jul/15/wildlife/AB001974-9210.jpg
  • http//www.zimconservation.com/Images/ivory.jpg
  • http//arnotq.com/pages/20/ieleivorytusk.jpg
  • http//www.bonobos.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/200
    8/02/congofull.jpg
  • http//kim.uing.net/files/media_file_11458.jpg
  • http//www.unchartedoutposts.com/resource/slidesho
    ws/africa/tanzania/Mahale20Greystoke-Lake20Tanya
    nika/0820congo20jungle.JPG
  • http//users.telenet.be/be.bartlog/media/congo_jun
    gle_12-2007_005.JPG
  • http//ianshive.files.wordpress.com/2007/06/rainfo
    rest2.jpg
  • Video Citations
  • The Congo and The Heart of Darkness. Discovery
    Channel School. 2004.Discovery Education. 4
    November 2008http//streaming.discoveryeducation.
    com/
  • Marlow Returns to Europe. Discovery Channel
    School. 2000.Discovery Education. 4 November
    2008http//streaming.discoveryeducation.com/
  • Full Video Great Books Heart of Darkness
  • Great Books Heart of Darkness. Discovery Channel
    School. 2000.Discovery Education. 5 November
    2008http//streaming.discoveryeducation.com/
  • Text
  • Conrad, Joseph. Heart of Darkness and Other
    Tales. Borders Classics, Ann Arbor, MI 2007.
  • Audio of Heart of Darkness
  • http//www.loudlit.org/works/heartofdarkness.htm
  • http//librivox.org/heart-of-darkness-by-joseph-co
    nrad/
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