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Heart of Darkness & Apocalypse Now
Transcript of Heart of Darkness & Apocalypse Now
-The Quest/Journey: Basic plot structure of a mission or adventure to achieve/find a solution to a conflict, usually with a group of followers. Captain Willard is summoned on a mission to Cambodia in search for Colonel Kurtz, with a boat of companions.
-The Lasting Wound: Willard’s PTSD from the start of the movie put in the start of the movie from previous war experience is displayed as the movie itself.
-Black/Shadow: Chaos, the Unknown-The violence of the Vietnam War
-The mystery of Colonel Kurtz
-The mystery of the river
-Red: Blood, Sacrifice, Fire, Death -The color of blood reflected into the sky then into the river
-The sacrifice of the ox and Kurtz
-Fire of war
-The Hero: Main Protagonist and one who will complete the quest Captain Willard and his mission
-The Outcast: Banished for crime <--> Colonel Kurtz in the wilderness, hidden for war crimes
Repeated plot devices/themes:
-Fallen Ace: Colonel Kurtz’s downfall from being elite
-Kurtz: We train young men to drop fire on people... and yet their commanders won't let them write, "Fuck!" on their airplanes because it's obscene.
-Willard: Charging a man with murder in this place was like handing out speeding tickets in the Indy 500.
-Belief of Sanity: Kurtz, Chief, Willard
Characters (HOD v. AN)
Quests (HOD v. AN)
Archetypal Journey of HOD
Heart of Darkness & Apocalypse Now
Marlow goes on "Quest" for own fulfillment
Witnesses horrors of European Imperialism
Meeting Kurtz becomes his mission
Discovers dark in self
Willard goes on "Quest" to kill Kurtz to escape insanity
Portrays the horrors of war
Finding Kurtz has become more than a mission
Discovers curiosity himself
Similarities- Not a typical “Hero”
Fascination with Kurtz that grows as the story progresses
Respect towards the helmsman/Chief
Both find out about themselves through their journey
Both are lonely and don’t really connect with those around them
Last little act of kindness/moral ambiguity: Marlow lies to Kurtz’s wife about Kurtz’s last words, both an act of kindness and breech of his morals since he doesn’t like liars; In AN Willard takes Lance back with him when he leaves Cambodia even when Lance would be perfectly happy staying there and Willard would be happy without Lance on the boat
Differences-In beginning of Apocalypse Now Willard is mentally broken where in Heart of Darkness (in his version of the story) he is mentally sound
We see more violence in Willard (killing the native woman, killing Kurtz) Making him more a part of the events around him while Marlow is more of just an observer
Marlow leaves this whole ordeal calm, with a sense of clarity, while Willard’s opening statement and narrating tone makes his seem as if something inside of him has broken
Source of motivation is different: HOD Marlow learns about Kurtz a ways into his journey and becomes obsessed with meeting with him, AN Willard is sent in the beginning to find Kurtz and his obsession begins there
In HOD Marlow is pretty much completely in control of the mission (he knows the destination and is steering the boat), while in AN he isn’t in control since Chief is the one originally the one in control of the boat (until he dies)
Similarities- Mental/moral break
Typical and obvious villain
A man that was once very great (adds to his humanity as Marlow/Willard is trying to determine what kind of a man Kurtz is)
Rules by fear
“The horror, horror…”
“Exterminate all the brutes” (HOD) “Drop the bomb. Kill them all.” (AN)
Differences-In AN he wants Willard to kill him, in HOD he doesn’t
HOD his obsession is ivory, In AN his obsession is power
Method by which he is humanized differs in some ways (HOD: Wife and her love for him; AN: His wrongs do not differ so much from the actions of other soldiers)
Kurtz isn’t as much of a mystery figure in AN as he is in HOD for Willard/Marlow
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"Common Archetypes and Symbols in Literature." Common Archetypes and Symbols in Literature. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Dec. 2013. <http://www.muhsd.k12.ca.us/cms/lib5/CA01001051/Centricity/Domain/520/English%203/Unit%201%20--%20Early%20American%20Lit/ArchetypesandSymbols.pdf>.
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1. Sir James George Frazer: Scottish anthropoligist, wrote The Golden Bough; shared practices and mythological beliefs between primitive religions and modern religions
2. Carl Jung: Swiss Psychiatrist, created some of best known psychological concepts, including the
, the collective unconscious, the complex, and synchronicity
3. Northrop Frye: Canadian literary critic and theorist. According to Frye, "[What a criticism can do] is awaken students to successive levels of awareness of the mythology that lies behind the ideology in which their society indoctrinates them"
the study of recurring structural patterns gives students a distance from their own society, gives them a vision of a higher human state that is not accessible directly through their own experience, but ultimately transforms and expands their experience, so that the poetic model becomes a model to live by.
Uses the terms "centrifugal" and "centripetal" to describe criticisms.
centripetal when it moves inwardly, towards the structure of a text; centrifugal when it moves outwardly, away from the text and towards society and the outer world
What it actually is
A type of criticism that tries to identify universal patterns, character types, and images that will create a universal response from readers. Most forms of archetypal criticism will come in the form of symbols, and from there, the messages are interpreted into a few common tropes. These include, but are not limited to: quests, meditative withdrawals, feats of courage, femme fatales, and shadows.
While there are many examples in Heart of Darkness and Apocalypse Now (i.e. meditation with Marlow, the two old women as fates, and the overall darkness of the jungle) many archetypal images are seen in the Odessey (the archetypal journey), Snow White (the poison apple) and most notably in Greek Mythology itself (literally any story; Pandora's box, Heracle's Journey, etc)
Sedona Coste, Wolfgang Wang, Kendra Meer, Roni Reeves
Heart of Darkness does not easily lend itself to archetypal criticism.
There is no hero, though there is clearly a villain, and it does not follow a traditional mythological cycle
Comes closest to resembling the cycle of Irony or Satire
Takes a satirical stance against imperialism
Protagonist leaves from an ignorant society to the source of these misguided beliefs
Conrad satirizes the foolish idea of “civilizing” the heathens and the exploitation due to the white man’s greed
The shadow archetype represents evil and the dark side of humanity
Colonel Kurtz fills this dark archetype
Exposing his exploitation of the natives and the European greed and lust for power
The quintessential villain
The one whom the protagonist confronts after a long struggle
Kurtz is shrouded in mystery, consuming Marlow’s thoughts
A satire ends with the “vanquishing” of the villain, while society remains unchanged
In his weakness, Kurtz doesn’t give Marlow cause for turmoil
Kurtz still regarded as a blessing to the human race, idol to some, fruitful trader to others
Nearly every story has the protagonist embark on a perilous journey/quest
Often ends in a sudden realization or personal discovery
In Heart of Darkness, Marlow’s journey into the Congo is there, but without the hero’s enlightenment
Lack of Hero
Difficult to fit Marlow into a hero archetype
He does go on a dangerous journey into long desired territory
But encounters no guide, nor does he have a sort of epiphany
Never changes his condescending view of the “pilgrims,” not fellow humans
Similarities-Un-killable (AN never gets hit by anything, HOD doesn’t get sick)
Differences-In AN he doesn’t seem completely incompetent just rude and egotistical as far as his actions
Similarities-Marlow/Willard sees the helmsman/Chief as an ally and respects him (to an extent)
The death of the helmsman/Chief affects Marlow/Willard (though we see more of the effects on Marlow)
All crew members except Chief and Chef=Pilgrims (Tyrone firing wildly into the boat, crew members clumsily returning fire to the natives)
Differences-Major difference in numbers
Chef and Tyrone in AN serve more as symbols of the devastation of the Vietnam war than as parallels to HOD (Chef-a man who didn’t join the war to fight, Tyrone-a kid who dies leaving behind a large family)
What makes it different
Different from Psychological Criticism because its not about conscious/unconscious desires of the individual, rather, it is about the universal hopes of the entire culture
Different from New Historicism because it does not have a time frame, for if it is truly archatypal, it will last through the ages
Different from Deconstructionist because it is not about the individual, rather the whole culture or group