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Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness 1899


'You know I hate, detest, and can't bear a. lie, not because I am straighter than the ... lying at the bottom of a precipice where the sun never shines' (111) ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness 1899

Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness (1899)
  • The Sacred River

Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness (1899)
  • To what does heart of darkness refer?

Construction of HD Narratology
  • The yarns of seamen have a direct simplicity,
  • whole meaning of which lies within the shell of
  • cracked nut. But Marlow was not typical (if his
  • propensity to spin yarns be excepted), and to
  • the meaning of an episode was not inside like a
  • kernel but outside, enveloping the tale which
  • brought it out only as a glow brings out a haze,
  • the likeness of one of these misty halos that
  • sometimes are made visible by the spectral
  • illumination of moonshine (18).

Construction of HD NarratologyNarrators N1, N2
  • FrameN1 MarlowN2 Frame
  • Shell Kernel Shell
  • Meaning Tale Meaning
  • Misty Halo Moonshine Misty Halo
  • Haze Glow Haze
  • meaning envelopes ( inclusio) episode

Construction of HD River, Heart
  • FrameN1 N2 Frame
  • Thames Congo Thames
  • England Belgian Congo England
  • Romans Europeans Romans
  • Thames Father Thames, Tamesis River god.

Construction of HD River, Heart
  • Marlow The Unreliable Narrator
  • Its queer how out of touch with truth
  • women are (28).
  • You know I hate, detest, and cant bear a
  • lie, not because I am straighter than the
  • rest of us, but simply because it appals
  • me. There is a taint of death, a flavour of
  • mortality in lies,which is exactly what I
  • hate and detest in the worldwhat I want
  • to forget (49-51).

The River Metaphor in HD
  • Essay (on website)
  • Main Ideas
  • Buddha Marlows tale Buddha
  • River Samsara
  • Buddha enlightened one

LIFE IS A RIVER Analysis of Parallelism
  • A
  • 1aThe brown current ran swiftly
  • 2aout of the heart of darkness,
  • bearing us
  • 3adown towards the sea
  • with twice the speed of our
  • upward progress
  • B
  • 1band Kurtzs life was running swiftly too,
  • ebbing, ebbing
  • 2bout of his heart
  • 3binto the sea
  • of inexorable time.
  • (Penguin, 109).

Construction of HD River, Heart
  • FrameN1 N2 Frame
  • The offing was barred by a black bank of
    clouds, and the tranquil waterway leading to the
    uttermost ends of the earth flowed sombre under
    an overcast skyseemed to lead into the heart of
    an immense darkness.
  • What is the place in the text for this citation?
    What is its meaning?

Rudolph Ottos numinous experience and HD
  • In a very few hours I arrived in a city that
    always make me
  • think of a white sepulchre (24)
  • She seemed uncanny and fateful (26).
  • The sheer unexpectedness of it made my hair stir
  • my cap (68).
  • But there was the fact facing methe fact
    dazzling, to be
  • seen, like the foam on the depths of the sea,
    like a ripple
  • on an unfathomable enigma, a mystery greaterwhen
  • thought of itthan the curious, inexplicable note
  • desperate grief in this savage clamour that had
    swept by us
  • on the river-bank, behind the blind whiteness of
    the fog
  • (71-72).
  • The horror! The horror! (112).

  • We gave her her letters (I heard the men in that
    lonely ship were dying of fever at the rate of
    three a-day) and went on. We called at some more
    places with farcical names, where the merry dance
    of death and trade goes on in a still and earthy
    atmosphere as of an overheated catacomb all
    along the formless coast bordered by the
    dangerous surf, as if Nature herself had tried to
    ward off intruders in and out of rivers, streams
    of death in life, whose banks were rotting into
    mud, whose waters, thickened into slime, invated
    the contorted mangroves, that seemed to write at
    us in the extremity of an impotent despair.
    Nowhere did we stop long enough to get a
    particularised impression, but the general sense
    of vague and oppressive wonder grew upon me. It
    was like a weary pilgrimage amongst hints for
    nightmares (31).

  • The best way I can explain it you is by saying
    that, for a second or two, I felt as though,
    instead of going to the centre of a continent, I
    were about to set off for the centre of the
    earth (29, and note 47 Jules Verne).
  • My purpose was to stroll into the shade for a
    moment but no sooner within than it seemed to me
    I had stepped into the gloomy circle of some
    Inferno (35 note 58).
  • Black shapes crouched, lay, sat between the
    trees, leaning against the trunks, clinging to
    the earth itself, half coming out, half effaced
    within the dim light, in all the attitudes of
    pain, abandonment, and despair (34-35). Dante,
    Commedia, LInferno, Canto 3, line 9.
  • His was an impenetrable darkness. I looked at
    him as you peer down at a man who is lying at the
    bottom of a precipice where the sun never shines

  • Apocalypse Now. Dir. Francis Ford Coppola.
    Parmount, 1979.
  • Blood Diamond. Dir. Edwar Zwick. Warner Bros.,
  • The Good Shepherd. Dir. Robert DeNiro. Universal
    Studios, 2006.

Further Reading
  • Achebe, Chinua. Things Fall Apart. Rpt. London
    Everymans Library, 1992. William Heinemann,
  • Achebe, Chinua. An Image of Africa Racism in
    Conrads Heart of Darkness. The Massachusetts
    Review 18 (1977) 782-94. Rpt. in Heart of
    Darkness. Ed. Robert Kimbrough. A Norton Critical
    Edition. 3rd ed. NY, London Norton, 1988.
  • Kingsolver, Barbara. The Poisonwood Bible. Rpt.
    NY Harper Perenial Modern Classics, 2005. NY
    HarperCollins, 1998.
  • Walker, Alice. The Color Purple. NY Pocket
    Books, 1982.

Work Cited
  • Conrad, Joseph. Heart of Darkness. Ed. Robert
    Hampson. Penguin 1995, 2000.