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Heart of Darkness: Deconstruction Criticism

The novel through a deconstructionist's eyes

Kathryn Rooney

on 11 October 2012

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Transcript of Heart of Darkness: Deconstruction Criticism

Heart of Darkness: Deconstruction Criticism Kathryn Rooney, Caitlin Chittom, Austin Grisham Definition: Noun- A philosophical theory of criticism (usually of literature of film) that seeks to expose deep-seated contradictions in a work by delving below its surface meaning. Overview Learning Deconstruction: Light in August The river appears to be separating Marlow from the African interior and thus a savage community.
The "brown current" is not protecting or separating Marlow from the savagery of Africa; The water is actually keeping the savagery of Kurtz out of the African interior.
"Brown current" is in opposition to what water normally represents. Water is often seen as a cleansing agent, but here it is brown, representing evil. dark colors usually represent a source of evil, and the source has tainted the water. kurtz so far upstream and he is the source of evil tainting all of africa. As a result, anything that comes in contact with the tainted river is inherently tainted itself. Individual Practice: Deconstructionism with Heart of Darkness Heart of Darkness Broken Down Sources Form of literary analysis
Jacques Derrida 1067CE Questions the fundamental conceptual distinctions or oppositions through a close examination of the language and logic, philosophical and literary texts
challenges to say that there is actually no concrete meaning in a text "I know," he said. "I know evil. Ain't I made evil to get up and walk God's world? A walking pollution in God's own face I made it. Out of the mouths of children He never concealed it. You have heard them. I never told them to say it, to call him in his rightful nature, by the name of his damnation. I never told them. They knowed. They was told, but it wasn't by me. I just waited, on His own good time, when He would see fitten to reveal it to His living world. It's come now. This is the sign, wrote again in womansinning and bitchery." (Faulkner 111) Analysis "Conrad, Joseph. Heart of Darkness. New York: Knopf, 1993. Print.

"Deconstruction." Encyclopedia Britannica Online. Encyclopedia Britannica, n.d. Web. 02 Oct. 2012.

Faulkner, William. "Light in August." Modern College Library Editions. McGraw Hill, 1968.

"Heart of Darkness." SparkNotes. SparkNotes, n.d. Web. 02 Oct. 2012. In context:
talking about when Marlow and the crew bring an ill Kurtz on board as they are leaving the inner station. Dietician brings Joe to the janitor and wants to know his ethnicity
The janitor claims he never told the other children the Joe Christmas was black, but that they began to perceive him that way by themselves.
Caused the dietician to begin to view him differently even though she had no concrete evidence for it
The dietician then tells the matron, who also changes her view of Joe.
Everyone's perception of Joe is changed, yet he has done nothing and nothing about him has actually changed. "The brown current ran quickly out of the heart of darkness, bearing us down towards the sea with twice the speed of our upward progress; and Kurtz's life was running swiftly, too, ebbing, ebbing, out of his heart into the sea of inexorable time... I saw the time approaching when i would be left alone of the party of 'unsound method.'" Example 1:
"I know that the sunlight can be made to lie too, yet one felt that no manipulation of light and pose could have conveyed the delicate shade of truthfulness upon those features." Deconstructing the idea that light represents truth
normally is good, honesty.
here is often the opposite
can mean deceit, evil doings
Europeans brought light to civilize; actually caused more harm than good and destroyed a culture
can make things seem brighter than actually are or make you see things that aren't actually there. Notes about the article:
A Deconstructive Perspective by J. Hillis Miller Argues that the story is an ironic parable
parable- intended to teach a moral or lesson
Novel works to expose to the readers the darkness of humanity, but it is ironic that if the readers don't already know abut it, they don't get the message. If they already know, the story is pointless as it provides no new information. Example 2:
“Poor fool! If he had only left that shutter alone. He had no restraint, no restraint – just like Kurtz – a tree swayed by the wind. As soon as I had put on a dry pair of slippers, I dragged him out, after first jerking the spear out of his side, which operation I confess I performed with my eyes shut tight. His heels leaped together over the little doorstep desperately. Oh! He was heavy, heavy; heavier than any man on earth, I should imagine. Then without more ado I tipped him overboard. The current snatched him as though he had been a wisp of grass, and I saw the body roll over twice before I lost sight of it forever.” (Conrad, 66) •Eyes shut – trying to hide from the evil that has happened
•However, he is also hiding from the fact that men are capable of doing this and that it could happen to him
•The weight of the man was weighing on Marlow both physically and mentally
•The sooner that the man is out of sight, the sooner Marlow’s mental weight is lifted
•He is not dumping the body, but getting rid of the crime scene
•“out of sight, out of mind.” Context Scene where Marlow is going up the river to the station and the steamer is attacked by the natives
The Helmsman is killed Marlow thinks the Helmsman to be the heaviest man on earth
Current pulls him away like a single blade of grass
Weight has no meaning
Theoretical weight means nothing to Marlow either, making it an ironic parable
Marlow does not truly understand the severity of the actions in Africa
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