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HEART OF DARKNESS: A COMPREHENSIVE REVIEW Abigail Shell 2 nd Block Mrs. Byrnes.

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Presentation on theme: "HEART OF DARKNESS: A COMPREHENSIVE REVIEW Abigail Shell 2 nd Block Mrs. Byrnes."— Presentation transcript:

1 HEART OF DARKNESS: A COMPREHENSIVE REVIEW Abigail Shell 2 nd Block Mrs. Byrnes

2 Colonization destroys the purity of a culture. Just as the explored regions on young Marlow’s maps became darker in color as they were explored, so did the civilization being explored lose the purity of its existence, for the conquerors infused the subjugated culture with their values and styles of living. Additionally, the country conquering another lost purity of its own culture, for it gained blots on its soul by destroying other civilizations ways of life, and it combined some of the culture of its colonies with its own, resulting in a loss of its pure civilization. Nina, Pinta, and Santa Maria Columbus and “Indians” Montezuma greets Cortez

3 Civilization is a cycle. In Heart of Darkness, countries like England and France are in the process of subjugating nations in Africa. Though believed to be the height of civilization, these two countries were once subdued and colonized with the same methods they employ in Africa by the Roman empire years before. Marlow references this cycle when he muses that England had once been one of the “dark places of the world,” and he uses this fact to delineate the irrationality of colonization. Rome in Caesar’s timeEngland under Elizabeth I African Chieftan

4 A balance must be struck between Apollonian and Dionysian forces to maintain sanity. European nations like England and France in Heart of Darkness adhered to strict moral codes of conduct and were veritably obsessed with the ordered Apollonian style of life. When men went off to Africa, then, the complete lack of Apollonian structure caused them to lose their minds as they were consumed with primitive, Dionysian impulses. The Doctor, in warning Marlow to avoid agitation, touched on this as a cause of insanity, and Marlow, as he mused over the internal aspects of the men he met, examined the breakdown inevitable when one side of this scale becomes disproportionately large. Order, law and art under Apollo Unrestricted immorality and pleasure nder Dionysus

5 White Areas on the Map At the beginning of his tale, Marlow recounts how, when he was young, he was fascinated with the white areas on the map, the areas yet to be explored. Areas scoured by man were full of lines and shading, but those untouched remained pure white. In keeping with Conrad’s theme of the destructive and irrational nature of colonization, these maps play a crucial role. Because the unexplored regions remained white, they were pure and uncorrupted, but everywhere man’s foot had been, the land on the map turned black.

6 Fresleven’s Body Marlow’s precursor, Fresleven, died in a fight with the natives over two chickens. After he died, however, his bones remained exactly where they had fallen, and grass grew up through them. The natives refused to touch the bones, for they had thought Fresleven to be a god, and his death alarmed them. Because he was capable of dying, however, he could not have been a god, and his bones remained visible as a sign to the natives that the whites were no more deified than they were.

7 Kurtz’s painting Shown to Marlow by the Brickmaker, this piece of art depicted a blindfolded woman holding a lighted torch aloft in the darkness. Such an image combines ancient depictions of Justice, who was blind, and Liberty, who held a lighted torch. Kurtz’s choice of image reflected the irrational European view that colonization was bringing civilization and peace to those they conquered, and the fact that a woman was shown as the symbol emphasizes Marlow’s belief that women live in a world of their own, separate from the actual, tangible facts of the world.

8 From the Novel About the Novel  Epiphany  Frame Narrative  Adventure Tale  Somnambulist  Gabardine  Lugubrious  Drollery  Rapacious  Moribund  Propitiatory  Prevaricator  Serviette  Ichthyosaurus

9 1) What effect, if any, does the setting have on the tone of the novel? 2) How are Kurtz’s fiancée and Kurtz’s mistress foils? 3) Are Kurtz’s methods unsound or merely appropriately adapted to the hostile environment? 5) What is the significance of the Chief Accountant’s choice to maintain European dress standards? 8) Why are only two characters in the novel given actual names? 7) Describe the importance of identifying each person by his/her job description. 4)What is Conrad’s central message in the novel? 6) Describe the significance of Marlow’s audience.

10 9) How are the skulls surrounding Kurtz’s station significant? 10) Explain the importance of and associations in Kurtz’s painting of the blindfolded woman. 11) How is the title of the novel significant to theme? 12) What lesson does Marlow eventually come to understand by the novel’s conclusion, and how does this enlightenment differ from traditional reason and opinions? 13) How is madness developed in the novel? 14) How is the Russian Harlequin developed as a foil for Marlow? 15) What is the significance of the continual references to the primal nature of the setting?

11 Conrad was born in the Polish Ukraine in His father was exiled to Siberia on suspicion of plotting against the Russian government. He was sent to live with his uncle once his mother died, and he never saw his father again. He spent twenty years of his life as a sailor. In 1886, he became a British subject. He travelled down the Belgian Congo in This trip ruined his health and he returned to England to recover. His other works include Almayer’s Folly, Lord Jim, Nostromo, and The Secret Agent.

12  Philippine Insurrection  Boer War  British government takes control of the Royal Niger Company’s territories  Anglo-Japanese alliance signed  Cuba gains formal independence from Spain  Treaty of Vereeniging ends second Boer War  Wright brothers’ first airplane  Hay-Herran Treaty signed


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