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Structuralist Analysis Of Heart of Darkness
Transcript of Structuralist Analysis Of Heart of Darkness
Joseph Conrad uses the structural technique of a frame story to further emphasize the contrasts in the novella, and to emphasize the different biases that occur depending on the narrator.
Marlow's Point of View Affects the Reader
Marlow found the bricklayer to be a “papier-mâché Mephistopheles,” which means he was a shallow and hallow character, due to his conniving and petty ways.
Frame structure: allowed Marlow's biased to be available to the reader
Structure Technique #2: Prolepsis
Prolepsis is a figure of speech in which a future act or development is represented as if already accomplished or existing.
Conrad Uses Prolepsis
He was silent for a long time.
"``I laid the ghost of his gifts at last with a lie,'' he began, suddenly. ``Girl! What?
Did I mention a girl? Oh, she is out of it -- completely. They -- the women I mean --
are out of it -- should be out of it. We must help them to stay in that beautiful world
of their own, lest ours gets worse. Oh, she had to be out of it. You should have heard
the disinterred body of Mr. Kurtz saying, `My Intended.' You would have perceived
directly then how completely she was out of it." (Conrad 23).
Civilization vs. Savagery
“They howled, and leaped, and spun, and made horrid faces; but what thrilled you was just the thought of their humanity—like yours—the thought of your remote kinship with this wild and passionate uproar." (Conrad 13).
In Heart of Darkness, the frame technique is used by Conrad to make a contrast between Marlow’s understanding of the imperialistic darkness during the time period of the novella and the vague understanding of imperialism that the men on “the Nellie” have.
Structuralist Analysis Of Heart of Darkness
The Contrast Between Civilization and Savagery
"The wilderness had patted him on the head, and, behold, it was like a ball—an ivory ball; it had caressed him, and—lo!—he had withered; it had taken him, loved him, embraced him, got into his veins, consumed his flesh, and sealed his soul to its own by the inconceivable ceremonies of some devilish initiation.” (Conrad 24).
Civilization is represented by education, literature, knowledge, and restraint against the natural tendencies of man. Savagery is described as the Africans and their unfamiliar culture and traditions, and their dark, unknown forest.
This is shown with the frame technique because Marlow is the one who observes that the “dark” African environment corrupted Kurtz.
The Accountant had brought out already a box of dominoes, and was toying architecturally with the bones.... The Director, satisfied the anchor had good hold, made his way aft and sat down amongst us. We exchanged a few words lazily.
His companions on the boat are upper-middle class European men who only have a vague understanding of true imperialism, because they are not as affected by imperialism as the Africans. They only experience the wealth of imperialism
Marlow Gives a More Sane Outlook on Imperialism
“They (colonizers) 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.” (Conrad 5).
Marlow Hasn't Been Consumed by Greed
"Conusmed" "Devilish initiation"
If Kurtz had told the story, he would attempt to justify the lust for wealth.
The irony of the "blind" Europeans
This irony reveals the narrator’s perspective that the Europeans are the ones who are savage and unable to control their needs and desires. This explicit viewpoint could only be expressed with Marlow telling the story, and illustrates the contrast of civilization and uncivilized
The unknown narrator is telling the story that is narrated by Marlow, and Marlow conveys the events that occur in Africa in a frame story format or in a Russian-Doll-esque type of story telling. This gives the story a unique perspective due to the incidents that Marlow experienced in Africa, which altered his views, and created different opinions of characters such as Kurtz.
What is a Frame Story??
A frame story is a literary technique where a main narrative is introduced for the purpose of setting the setting for another narrative narrated by another character.