Presentation on theme: "Minaz Jooma: Session 3 AAIMS November 2013 Multiple, Transferable Approaches to Teaching the Novel: Heart of Darkness."— Presentation transcript:
Minaz Jooma: Session 3 AAIMS November 2013 Multiple, Transferable Approaches to Teaching the Novel: Heart of Darkness
The Five Approaches 1.Structure: the Frame Narrative, Chronology, the Novel as a Construct 2.Characterization 3.Allegory & Archetype 4.Social & historical context: female characters 5.Literary Criticism & Theory
Structure: the Frame Narrative, Chronology, the Novel as a Construct
Reading & Analysis Why focus on structure and the frame narrative? Marlow’s has told story to enlighten others; Buddha; what has he learned? We learn who the narrator is—why he’s telling story—he’s been influenced—telling it to enlighten others in turn Examine setting in London (Thames estuary) why significant? Details of London warehouse area; why significant? Thames & Congo (rivers); Thames=deathly—Gravesend—why this detail? Dominoes, casual reference, but everything has meaning; why significant? Lawyer, Director, Accountant; men with same titles in Congo: why are these titles important? What jobs do they do? Analyze other correspondences with the main story refer to ”kernel” comment— much of the purpose of the novel is given to the reader here Historical & cultural parallels (Romans in England & English in Africa) Play on light and dark: connotations inverted enlightened/savage/civilized Bird and snake—sinister image—which one is predator?
The end of frame narrative & chronology Emphasize the chronology of the novel: the opening of the novel (frame in the Thames estuary) is the end chronologically—occurs after Marlow has been back from Congo for a while—and has told the story to the narrator who now tells it to others in the volume we are reading Look closely at the episode in which Marlow talks to the Intended: why does he lie to her? Would he lie to her if he were talking to her from the chronological end of the novel?
(For a summary of the functions of the frame narrative see handout in packet) THE NOVEL AS A CONSTRUCT: The frame narrative can be conceived in more complex ways to help students see the different levels at which we may think of this novel
These layers might be used for a philosophical discussion about the nature of truth in HD and to introduce work on characterization
TRUTH, RELIABILITY & CHARACTERIZATION Since the narrative is filtered through so many layers (as in the game “Telephone”) this introduces the idea that the truth is unstable; we get only versions of the truth. The truth people tell depends on their motives. Good segue into talking about Kurtz and introducing an exercise in character. E.g., What do different characters say about Kurtz? Who does Marlow believe? Why? Who do you believe? Why? Find other examples of how Kurtz is characterized and universalized (physical description, setting, dialogue, his possessions, how others react to him...)
Heart of Darkness as Allegory: Marlow’s Growth as a Character If students are having difficulty following Marlow’s journey, a useful exercise can be to have them map the stages of his journey through a series of concentric circles or ‘zones’ leading to Kurtz and the ‘heart of darkness.’ In each zone, they can identify: Who Marlow encounters & what he thinks of them Notable features of each setting. Imagery, metaphors etc., that make that zone like (or unlike) others How Marlow’s feelings about Kurtz change How Marlow’s feelings about the Congo change Important episodes & what Marlow learns from them
End assessment: Marlow as an archetypal journeyer Joseph Campbell’s Monomyth (Departure; Initiation; Return) and Lillian Feder’s “Marlow’s Descent into Hell” Which is the more convincing model for analyzing HD and why?
Female characters: role of Victorian women in the colonial enterprise
Analyze descriptions (see worksheets) Discussion & synthesis questions In what ways are European women culpable in the colonialist endeavor? In what ways are they the “fair sex”? In what ways is the title of “fair sex” both demeaning and empowering? How is the African woman different from the European women?
Literary Theory & Criticism: Fostering Students’ Independence: Three Ideas for Teaching
ASK STUDENTS TO FIND THEIR OWN LITERARY CRITICAL ARTICLES. READ THEM, IDENTIFY THE MAIN ARGUMENT, SUMMARIZE MAIN IDEAS AND SAY WHETHER OR NOT THEY AGREE WITH THE ARGUMENT OF THE ARTICLE CHOSEN. STUDENTS THEN WRITE THEIR OWN ARGUMENTS USING THE CRITICAL ARTICLES AS MODELS.
USE 2-3 CRITICAL ARTICLES TO SET UP A DEBATE STUDENTS IDENTIFY THE ARGUMENT OF EACH ARTICLE SET UP OPPOSING VIEWS AND CULL EVIDENCE FROM THE NOVEL STUDENTS CONSIDER THE RELATIVE MERITS OF THE ARGUMENTS IN A DEBATE
USING ACHEBE ARTICLE (SEE PACKET) IS CONRAD A RACIST? WHAT DO WE UNDERSTAND BY THE TERM RACIST? (CONSIDER HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE) IF CONRAD DISAPPROVES OF KURTZ’S CONDUCT AND SEES COLONIALISM AS EVIL, WHY DOES HE HAVE MARLOW ADMIRE KURTZ AND PERPETUATE THE LIE ABOUT HIS CHARACTER TO THE INTENDED? THIS USUALLY REKINDLES DISCUSSION ABOUT THE CHRONOLOGICAL END OF THE NOVEL: IS THE LIE THE MOMENT OF MARLOW’S FULLEST REALIZATIONS?
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