Presentation on theme: "Heart of Darkness Published Serially in 1899. “The White Man’s Burden” Rudyard Kipling, 1899 Take up the White Man's burden-- Send forth the best ye breed--"— Presentation transcript:
Heart of Darkness Published Serially in 1899
“The White Man’s Burden” Rudyard Kipling, 1899 Take up the White Man's burden-- Send forth the best ye breed-- Go bind your sons to exile To serve your captives' need; To wait in heavy harness, On fluttered folk and wild-- Your new-caught, sullen peoples, Half-devil and half-child. Take up the White Man's burden-- In patience to abide, To veil the threat of terror And check the show of pride; By open speech and simple, An hundred times made plain To seek another's profit, And work another's gain.
Take up the White Man's burden-- The savage wars of peace-- Fill full the mouth of Famine And bid the sickness cease; And when your goal is nearest The end for others sought, Watch sloth and heathen Folly Bring all your hopes to nought. Take up the White Man's burden-- No tawdry rule of kings, But toil of serf and sweeper-- The tale of common things. The ports ye shall not enter, The roads ye shall not tread, Go mark them with your living, And mark them with your dead.
Take up the White Man's burden-- And reap his old reward: The blame of those ye better, The hate of those ye guard-- The cry of hosts ye humour (Ah, slowly!) toward the light:-- "Why brought he us from bondage, Our loved Egyptian night?" Take up the White Man's burden-- Ye dare not stoop to less-- Nor call too loud on Freedom To cloke your weariness; By all ye cry or whisper, By all ye leave or do, The silent, sullen peoples Shall weigh your gods and you. Take up the White Man's burden-- Have done with childish days-- The lightly proferred laurel, The easy, ungrudged praise. Comes now, to search your manhood Through all the thankless years Cold, edged with dear-bought wisdom, The judgment of your peers!
Frame Narrative Look at the diction and imagery of the first two pages. What tone does Conrad establish in setting the scene for the telling of the story? Marlow sat cross-legged right aft, leaning against the mizzenmast. He had sunken cheeks, a yellow complexion, a straight back, and ascetic aspect, and, with his arms dropped, the palms of hands outwards, resembled an idol. … We felt meditative, and fit for nothing but placid staring. The day was ending in a serenity of still and exquisite brilliance. The water shone pacifically (4).
Imagery Consider the title of the novel. What are the associations and connotations of “darkness”? Hunters for gold or pursuers of fame, they all had gone out on that stream, bearing the sword, and often the torch, messengers of the might within the land, bearers of a spark from the sacred fire. (5) Be on the lookout for light and dark imagery as you read the text, beginning with the first words Marlow speaks.
The Novel as a Metaphor for Imperialism What is Imperialism? How is it idealized? What are its effects? – On the Imperialists? – On the natives?
Colonization of Africa They were no colonists; their administration was merely a squeeze, and nothing more, I suspect. They were conquerors, and for that you want only brute force – nothing to boast of, when you have it, since your strength is just an accident arising from the weakness of others. (7) Map of Imperial Africa, as described on page 11.
They grabbed what they could get for the sake of what was to be got. It was just robbery with violence, aggravated murder on a great scale, and men going at it blind – as is very proper for those who tackle a darkness. The conquest of the earth, which mostly means the taking it away from those who have a different complexion or slightly flatter noses than ourselves, is not a pretty thing when you look into it too much. What redeems it is the idea only. An idea at the back of it; not a sentimental pretense but an idea; an unselfish belief in the idea – something you can set up, and bow down before, and offer a sacrifice to…” (7)
How is Imperialism Idealized? Something like an emissary of light, something like a lower sort of apostle…Weaning those ignorant millions of their horrid ways… I ventured to hint that the company was run for profit. (14)
The Fresleven Narrative: The Effects of Imperialism “Fresleven…went ashore and started to hammer the chief of the village with a stick … the chief’s son, - in desperation at hearing the old chap yell, made a tentative jab with a spear at the white man – and of course it went quite easy between the shoulder-blades. Then the whole population cleared into the forest, expecting all kinds of calamities to happen. (10)
Effects of Imperialism? …the grass growing through his ribs was tall enough to hide his bones. They were all there. The supernatural being had not been touched after he fell. And the village was deserted, the huts gaped black, rotting, all askew within the fallen enclosures. A calamity had come to it, sure enough. The people had vanished. Mad terror had scattered them …the cause of progress got them, anyhow. (24)
Pathetic Fallacy In and out of rivers, streams of death in life, whose banks were rotting into mud, whose waters, thickening into slime, invaded the contorted mangroves, that seemed to writhe at us in the extremity of an impotent despair. (17)
Progress? Pages 18 through top of 19 - Juxtaposition of images; - Reappearance of an earlier image, but invested with a complex simile. - Effects of Imperialism? - Verbal Irony?
Narrative Voice of Marlow “Yet to understand the effect it had on me you ought to know how I got out there, what I saw, how I went up that river to the place where I first met the poor chap. It was the farthest point of navigation and the culminating point of my experience. It seemed somehow to throw a kind of light on everything about me – and into my thoughts. It was somber enough too – and pitiful – not extraordinary in any way – not very clear either. No, not very clear. And yet it seemed to throw a kind of light.” (21)
Conrad’s Experience 1889 Particularly traumatic Severe illness Insight into human nature
Tone? A haze rested on the low shores that ran out to sea in vanishing flatness. The air was dark above the Gravesend, and farther back still seemed condensed into a mournful gloom, brooding, motionless over the biggest, the greatest, town on earth. (15) We exchanged a few words lazily. Afterwards there was a silence on board the yacht…We felt meditative, and fit for nothing but placid staring. The day was ending in a serenity of still and exquisite brilliance. The water shone pacifically…Only the gloom to the west, brooding over the upper reaches, became more sombre every minute, as if angered by the approach of the sun.
Africa Watching a coast as it slips by the ship is like thinking about an enigma. There it is before you – smiling, frowning, inviting, grand, mean, insipid, or savage, and always mute with an air of whispering, Come and find out. (29) Once, I remember, we came upon a man-of-war anchored off the coast. There wasn’t even a shred there, and she was shelling the bush…In the empty immensity of earth, sky, and water, there she was, incomprehensible, firing into a continent. (30)
Synecdoche Starred passage on 52-3.
Language and Idealization Starred passage on 58.
Possession “My ivory, my intended, my station, my river, my” – everything belonged to him. It made me hold my breath in expectation of hearing the wilderness burst into a prodigious peal of laughter that would shake the fixed stars in their places. Everything belonged to him – but that was a trifle. The think was to know what he belonged to, how many powers of darkness claimed him for their own. (60)
Allegory All Europe contributed to the making of Kurtz … Nerves went wrong, and caused him to preside at certain midnight dances ending with unspeakable rites … offered up to him… we whites “must necessarily appear to them [savages] in the nature of supernatural beings – we approach them with the might as of a deity … By the simple exercise of our will we can exert a power for good practically unbounded” …This was the unbounded power of eloquence – of words – of burning noble words (83).
Group Work According to the novel, what is Imperialism? Consider Kurtz as a metaphor. Discuss and interpret Marlowe’s actions upon his return from Africa (his conversation with Kurtz’s fiance, his care for Kurtz’s papers, etc.) What is the impact of Imperialism on the natives? On the Europeans? What is Conrad’s statement on the idealization of the Imperial project?
Impressionism Technique These round knobs were not ornamental but symbolic; they were expressive and puzzling, striking and disturbing … They would have been even more impressive, those heads on the stakes, if their faces had not been turned to the house. Only one, the first I had made out, was facing my way. (71)
It was as though an animated image of death carved out of old ivory had been shaking its hand with menaces at a motionless crowd of men made of dark and glittering bronze. I saw him open his mouth wide – it gave him a weirdly voracious aspect, as though he had wanted to swallow all the air, all the earth, all the men before him. (74)