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Heart of Darkness BASTANTE – ENGLISH III. Key Facts  Author: Joseph Conrad (1857-1924)  Written in 1899  Genre: Colonial/Quest Literature  Protagonist:

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Presentation on theme: "Heart of Darkness BASTANTE – ENGLISH III. Key Facts  Author: Joseph Conrad (1857-1924)  Written in 1899  Genre: Colonial/Quest Literature  Protagonist:"— Presentation transcript:

1 Heart of Darkness BASTANTE – ENGLISH III

2 Key Facts  Author: Joseph Conrad ( )  Written in 1899  Genre: Colonial/Quest Literature  Protagonist: Marlow  Antagonist: Kurtz  Point of View: First person (both Marlow and Unnamed Narrator)  Heart of Darkness is a frame narrative: Marlow tells the story of his time in the Congo to the Unnamed Narrator, and the Unnamed Narrator describes hearing Marlow tell the story to the reader

3 Themes  Colonialism – viciously ripping the wealth from Africa  The Hollowness of Civilization – hopelessly blind and corrupt  The Lack of Truth – Kurtz turns out to be the biggest monster of all; you can’t know other people, you can’t even really know yourself  Work – a source of support for Marlow to keep his sanity  Racism – views Congo natives as primitive and therefore innocent, while the white colonizers are sophisticated and therefore corrupt

4 Symbols  Women – Marlow believes that Women exist in a world of beautiful illusions that have nothing to do with truth or the real world. Symbol for civilization’s ability to hide its hypocrisy and darkness behind pretty ideas  The Sepulchral City – sepulchral means “of or relating to a tomb or interment.” Beautiful outside used to justify colonization, while hollow inside hides desire for power and wealth. Symbol for all of European civilization.  Black/Dark and White/Light – Challenges the common theme of white = good and black = evil. Whiteness now symbolizes blindness, while blackness now symbolizes the unknowable and primitive heart of all men

5 Part 1 (1/10)  Opens with the Unnamed Narrator setting the scene – five men aboard the Nellie, a ship at the mouth of the River Thames near London (the Director of Companies, the Lawyer, the Accountant, the Narrator, and Marlow)  The characters’ names hint at the hollowness of civilization  Establishes a dark tone – water symbolizing the unconscious, “the beginning of an interminable waterway.”  The Narrator’s thoughts about colonialism are conventional and romantic: “The dreams of men, the seed of commonwealths, the germs of empire.”  Marlow speaks up with an opposing view – England has a “dark heart”

6 Part 1 (2/10)  Marlow believes the men’s devotion to work protects them from being corrupted by hate  Marlow begins to tell his story.  He asked his aunt to help get him a job as a steamboat operator for the Company, a continental European trading concern in Africa.  He always went by “his own road and on his own legs,” representative of his belief in honesty and the importance of work

7 Part 1 (3/10)  Marlow is hired by the Company immediately after Fresleven, a Danish captain, had been killed by natives over a disagreement regarding two black hens.  The absurdity of Fresleven’s death foreshadows the absurdity Marlow will encounter in the jungle.  Marlow travels to the unnamed European city where the Company has its headquarters – the “white sepulcher”

8 Part 1 (4/10)  Marlow arrives at the Company’s office where he is presided over by two women who constantly knit black wool – symbols for death.  After meeting the head of the Company, a “pale plumpness in a frock coat,” (implying greed masked by civility), he is directed to a doctor who measures his head to check for insanity.  Marlow’s aunt refers to her nephew as an “emissary of light,” symbolizing women as civilization’s inability to see its hollow corruption.  Marlow boards the steamer that will take him to the mouth of the Congo and passes the absurdity that is the colonization of Africa – men shooting at the jungle.

9 Part 1 (5/10)  They reach the Company’s

10 Part 1 (6/10)

11 Part 1 (7/10)

12 Part 1 (8/10)

13 Part 1 (9/10)

14 Part 1 (10/10)


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