Presentation on theme: "Heart of Darkness. Heart of Darkness GRAHAM GREENE, Journey without Maps (1936) I thought for some reason even then of Africa, not a particular place,"— Presentation transcript:
3GRAHAM GREENE, Journey without Maps (1936) I thought for some reason even then of Africa, not a particular place, but a shape, a strangeness, a wanting to know. The unconscious mind is often sentimental; I have written ‘a shape’, and the shape, of course, is roughly that of the human heart.Africa will always be the Africa of the Victorian atlas, the blank unexplored continent the shape of the human heart.
4Factual/Historical Viewpoint The Congo River was discovered by Europeans in 1482No one traveled more than 200 miles upstream until 1877Is 1,600 miles long and only impassable to water traffic between two places, creating a two-hundred mile overland tripMatadi (the Company Station)Kinshasa (the Central Station)
5History of the Congo1878 – King Leopold II of Belgium asked explorer Henry Morton Stanley to set up a Belgian colony in the CongoWanted to “end slavery and civilize the natives”Actually interested in more material benefits1885 – Congress of Berlin forms Congo Free StateThis was ruled by Leopold II aloneThe Congress of Berlin is referred to in the book as “the International Society for the Suppression of Savage Customs.”Leopold never even visited the Congo. He set up “the Company” to run it for him.
9Democratic Republic of the Congo 1908 Belgian Congo1960 Independence1964 People’s Republic of the Congo1971 Republic of Zaire1997 Democratic Republic of the Congo
10Democratic Republic of the Congo (1997) The name of this African nation derives from a people known as the BaKongo, first rendered as “Congo” in Portuguese chronicles of exploration in In their language, the 2,900-mile-long Congo River is called nzadi, “the river that swallows all rivers.”
11King Leopold II (reigned 1865 – 1909) Belgian exploitation of the Congo initially focused on the rubber industry.
12King Leopold and the Congo Belgium, as a small country, did not possess numerous overseas colonies, unlike its neighbours, Holland, France, Germany, and Great Britain, but shared their imperial ambitions. Leopold persuaded other European powers at the Berlin Conference of to give him personal possession of the Congo.In 1876 he organized an international association as a front for his private plan to “develop” central Africa.Leopold used the Congo as a huge money-making resource, committing human rights violations in the process, as he built public works projects in Belgium with the money he accrued.
145-8 Million Victims (50% of Population) “It is blood-curdling to see them (the soldiers) returning with the hands of the slain, and to find the hands of young children amongst the bigger ones evidencing their bravery...The rubber from this district has cost hundreds of lives, and the scenes I have witnessed, while unable to help the oppressed, have been almost enough to make me wish I were dead... This rubber traffic is steeped in blood, and if the natives were to rise and sweep every white person on the Upper Congo into eternity, there would still be left a fearful balance to their credit.” -- Belgian Official
15White King, Red Rubber, Black Death Countries such as France, the Netherlands, and Great Britain that acquired large empires exploited both land and people. However…Some measures to protect the rights of overseas subjects were introduced.Rights of women and men to vote.Protection against industrial exploitation was making child labour illegal and improving employment conditions.Some of these rights were followed in the African colonies…..but NOT BY LEOPOLD IILeopold had to give up the Congo to Belgium in 1908 as a result of the international campaign exposing Leopold’s activities in the Congo.
16King Leopold’s Ghost Novel by Adam Hochschild written in 1998 Tells the horrific story of King Leopold’s colonial rule over a country and it’s native peoples.Based on the true story of the colonial activities.King Leopold II, never set foot in the Congo, but managed to ruin a country…his ghost remains today in memories of the Congolese.
17The Explorer Stanley’s Role H. M. Stanley, a journalist who explored the Congo on an expedition financed by King Leopold of Belgium.Stanley greatly aided his backer in gaining a firm foothold in what was to become the Belgian Congo (later Zaire), now the Democratic Republic of Congo.King Leopold II never set foot in Africa.
18“The White Man’s Burden”* “King Leopold found the Congo…cursed by cannibalism, savagery, and despair; and he has been trying with patience, which I can never sufficiently admire, to relieve it of its horrors, rescue it from its oppressors, and save it from perdition.” --H.M. Stanley*The idea that Europeans must carry the burden of civilizing Africa.
19Different Motives of Imperialism Some Westerners felt it was their duty to “civilize” the “savage” inhabitant of colonial lands in order to make them more “modern” and European. The English writer Rudyard Kipling displayed such an attitude in 1899 with a poem entitle “The White Man’s Burden.”Take up the White Man’s burden--Send forth the best ye breed--Go bind your sons to exileTo serve your captives’ need;To wait in heavy harness,On fluttered folk and wild--Your new-caught, sullen peoples,Half-devil and half-child.
20The “White Man’s Burden”? The first step toward lightening the White Man’s Burden is through teaching the virtues of cleanliness!Pear’s Soap is a potent factor in brightening the dark corners of the earth as civilization advances, while amongst the cultured of all nations, it holds the highest place-it is the ideal toilet soap.
21Ivory and “the White Man’s Burden” Most Europeans in the 1890s felt that the African peoples needed exposure to European culture and technology to become more evolved.This responsibility was known as “the white man’s burden” and the fervor to bring Christianity and commerce to Africa grew.In return for these “benefits,” the Europeans extracted HUGE amounts of ivory.
22Ivory, cont. Uses of ivory in the 1890s Jewelry and other decorative itemsPiano keysBilliard ballsFrom 1888 to 1892, the amount of ivory exported from the Congo rose from 13,000 pounds to more than a quarter million pounds.1892 – Leopold declares all natural resources in the Congo are his sole propertyThis gave the Belgians free reign to take whatever they wanted however they wished.Trade expands, new stations are established farther and farther away
23The Results of Ivory Fever Documented atrocities committed by the Belgian ivory traders include the severing of hands and heads.Reports of this, combined with Conrad’s portrayal of the system in Heart of Darkness, led to an international protest movement against Belgium’s presence in AfricaLeopold outlawed these practices, but his decree had little effectBelgian parliament finally took control away from the kingBelgium did not grant independence to the Congo until 1960
24Cecil Rhodes (1853-1902) “The Colossus of Rhodes” Uncle Sam: “The Colossus of the Pacific” (A Parody)“The Colossus of Rhodes”
25Joseph Conrad’s LifeBorn 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.Apollo introduced him son to the work of Dickens, Fenimore Cooper and Captain Marryat in Polish and French translations.
26Joseph Conrad’s LifeHis father died of tuberculosis and his funeral was attended by a thousand admirersConrad was raised by his uncle; attended school (he was disobedient)In 1874, Conrad went to Marseilles, France, and joined the Merchant Navy.Gun running for the Spanish and a love affair led to a suicide attempt.Conrad became a British merchant sailor and eventually a master mariner and citizen in His ten years in the British Merchant Marine shaped most of his stories.
27Joseph Conrad’s Life Conrad traveled widely in the east. He took on a stint as a steamer captain (1890) in the Congo, but became ill within three months and had to leave.Conrad retired from sailing and took up writing full time.Died of a heart attack in 1924.Buried in Canterbury Cathedral.
28Heart of DarknessFirst published as a serial in London’s Blackwood Magazine in 1899First unified publication in1902Considered by many to be the finest short novel ever written in EnglishBridges the Victorian and Modern literary periodsModern criticism sharply divided over merit due to racist/imperialist themes
29Heart of Darkness Background After a long stint in the east had come to an end, he was having trouble finding a new position.With the help of a relative in Brussels he got the position as captain of a steamer for a Belgian trading company.Conrad had always dreamed of sailing the CongoHe had to leave early for the job, as the previous captain was killed in a trivial quarrel
30Heart of Darkness Background Conrad saw some of the most shocking and depraved examples of human corruption he’d ever witnessed. He was disgusted by the ill treatment of the natives, the scrabble for loot, the terrible heat and the lack of water.He saw human skeletons of bodies left to rot - many were men from the chain gangs building the railroads.He found his ship was damaged.Dysentary was rampant as was malaria; Conrad had to terminate his contract due to illness and never fully recovered
31Heart of Darkness Narrative Structure Framed NarrativeNarrator beginsMarlow takes overNarrator breaks in occasionallyMarlow is Conrad’s alter-ego, he shows up in some of Conrad’s other works including “Youth: A Narrative” and Lord JimMarlow recounts his tale while he is on a small vessel on the Thames with some drinking buddies who are ex-merchant seamen. As he recounts his story the group sits in an all-encompassing darkness.
33Contrasts in Heart of Darkness Light vs. DarkHeavy vs. LightInferiority vs. SuperiorityCivil vs. SavageInterior vs. ExteriorIllusion vs. TruthMisogyny vs. MisanthropyInsanity vs. SanityRacism vs. Anti-racismImperialism vs. InsularityEvilWhat makes well-intentioned people do bad things?
34Heart of Darkness Motifs Primitive Impulses (Kurtz, previous captain, etc.)Cruelty of Man (Kurtz and Company)Immorality/Amorality (Kurtz)Lies/Hypocrisy (Marlow chooses Kurtz’s evil versus Company’s hypocritical evil)Imperialization/Colonization (Belgian Company)Greed / Exploitation of PeoplePower CorruptsSavage vs. Civil
35Heart of Darkness Motifs Role of WomenCivilization exploitive of womenCivilization as a binding and self-perpetuating forcePhysical connected to PsychologicalBarriers (fog, thick forest)Rivers (connection to past, parallels time and journey)
37Varied Interpretations Some feel the novel offers a scathing attack on colonialist ideology, others feel the novel celebrates and defends colonialization and racism.Some see Kurtz as the embodiment of all the evil and horror of capitalist society.Others view it as a portrayal of one man’s journey into the primitive unconscious where one must confront one’s own inner darkness.Still others see it as a modern journey quest, perhaps with an anti-hero rather than a hero.
38Criticism – Early and Modern Hailed as a portrayal of the demoralizing effect life in the African wilderness supposedly had on European menPraised as a study of the collapse of the white man’s morality when he is released from the restraints of European law and orderModernCriticized for the blatantly racist attitudes it portraysSome believe Conrad was simply reflecting the attitudes held common at the timeOthers believe he may have been holding the ideas up for scorn and ridicule
39Victorian and Modern Literature Traditional subject matter, form, and styleDeals with issues of the day, includingSocial, economic, religious, and intellectual issuesIndustrial RevolutionClass tensions, early feminist movement, pressures for social and political reformImpact of Darwin’s theories on evolutionModern (post WWI – WWII)Authors experiment with subject matter, form, and styleDeals with issues of the day, includingHorrors of WWIMassive loss of lifeLoss of faithExpanding technology and scienceAlso encompassed/is related to Postmodernism
40Review of CriticismPaul O’Prey: “It is an irony that the ’failures’ of Marlow and Kurtz are paralleled by a corresponding failure of Conrad’s technique—brilliant though it is—as the vast abstract darkness he imagines exceeds his capacity to analyze and dramatize it, and the very inability to portray the story’s central subject, the ‘unimaginable,’ the ‘impenetratable’ (evil, emptiness, mystery or whatever) becomes a central theme.”James Guetti complains that Marlow “never gets below the surface,” and is “denied the final self-knowledge that Kurtz had.?
41Review of CriticismConrad, writing in 1922, responds to similar criticism: “Explicitness, my dear fellow, is fatal to the glamour of all artistic work, robbing it of all suggestiveness, destroying all illusion. You seem to believe in literalness and explicitness, in facts and in expression. Yet nothing is more clear than the utter insignificance of explicit statement and also its power to call attention away from things that matter in the region of art.”
42Review of CriticismMarlowe, the narrator, describes how difficult conveying a story is: “Do you see the story? Do you see anything? It seems to me I am trying to tell you a dream—making a vain attempt, because no relation of a dream can convey the dream-sensation, that commingling of absurdity, surprise, and bewilderment in a tremor of struggling revolt, that notion of being captured by the incredible, which is the very essence of dream . . .No, it is impossible; it is impossible to convey the life-sensation of any given epoch of one’s existence—that which makes its truth, its meaning—its subtle and penetrating essence. It is impossible. We live, as we dream—alone.”
43Review of CriticismMarxist: You can see Heart of Darkness as a depiction of, and an attack upon, colonialism in general, and, more specifically, the particularly brutal form colonialism took in the Belgian Congo.the mistreatment of the Africansthe greed of the so-called “pilgrims”the broken idealism of Kurtzthe French man-of-war lobbing shells into the junglethe grove of death upon which Marlow stumblesthe little note that Kurtz appends to his noble-minded essay on The Suppression of Savage Customsthe importance of ivory to the economics of the system.
44Review of CriticismSociological/Cultural: Conrad was also apparently interested in a more general sociological investigation of those who conquer and those who are conquered, and the complicated interplay between them.Marlow’s invocation of the Roman conquest of Britaincultural ambiguity of those Africans who have taken on some of the ways of their Europeansthe ways in which the wilderness tends to strip away the civility of the Europeans and brutalize themConrad is not impartial and scientifically detached from these things, and he even has a bit of fun with such impartiality in his depiction the doctor who tells Marlow that people who go out to Africa become “scientifically interesting.”
45Review of CriticismPsychological/Psychoanalytical: Conrad goes out of his way to suggest that in some sense Marlow’s journey is like a dream or a return to our primitive past—an exploration of the dark recesses of the human mind.Apparent similarities to the psychological theories of Sigmund Freud in its suggestion that dreams are a clue to hidden areas of the mindwe are all primitive brutes and savages, capable of the most appalling wishes and the most horrifying impulses (the Id)we can make sense of the urge Marlow feels to leave his boat and join the natives for a savage whoop and hollernotice that Marlow keeps insisting that Kurtz is a voice—a voice who seems to speak to him out of the heart of the immense darkness
46Review of CriticismReligious: Heart of Darkness as an examination of various aspects of religion and religious practices.examine the way Conrad plays with the concept of pilgrims and pilgrimagesthe role of Christian missionary concepts in the justifications of the colonialiststhe dark way in which Kurtz fulfills his own messianic ambitions by setting himself up as one of the local gods
47Review of CriticismMoral-Philosophical: Heart of Darkness is preoccupied with general questions about the nature of good and evil, or civilization and savageryWhat saves Marlow from becoming evil?Is Kurtz more or less evil than the pilgrims?Why does Marlow associate lies with mortality?
48Review of CriticismFormalist: Focus on the literary patterns and structures inherent in Heart of DarknessThrees: There are three parts to the story, three breaks in the story (1 in pt. 1 and 2 in pt. 2), and three central characters: the outside narrator, Marlow and KurtzContrasting images (dark and light, open and closed)Center to periphery: Kurtz->Marlow->Outside Narrator->the readerAre the answers to be found in the center or on the periphery?
49Review of CriticismModernism: Heart of Darkness published in the Late Victorian Era exhibits mostly modern traits:a distrust of abstractions as a way of delineating truthan interest in an exploration of the psychologicala belief in art as a separate and somewhat privileged kind of human experiencea desire for transcendence mingled with a feeling that transcendence cannot be achievedan awareness of and interest in primitiveness and savagery as the condition upon which civilization is builta skepticism and a sense that multiplicity, ambiguity, and irony—in life and in art—are the necessary responses of the intelligent mind to the human condition.
51Apocalypse NowApocalypse Now is a film directed by Francis Ford Coppola starring Martin Sheen, Robert Duvall and Marlon BrandoThis 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
52Circle of Influence Thomas Pynchon T.S. Eliot Ernest Hemingway F. Scott FitzgeraldWilliam FaulknerGabriel Garcia MarquezMario Vargas LlosaJorge Luis BorgesCarlos FuentesGeorge OrwellSaul BellowEugene O’NeillGraham Greene
53Joseph Conrad’s Other Works Almayer’s Folly (1895)The Nigger of the Narcissus (1897)Lord Jim (1900)Heart of Darkness (1902)Typhoon (1902)Nostromo (1904)The Secret Sharer (1907)Under Western Eyes (1910)Chance (1914)