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Copy of Frame Narrative in Heart of Darkness

Presentation on frame narrative
by

Pravin Karunakaran

on 10 January 2013

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Transcript of Copy of Frame Narrative in Heart of Darkness

Topic 1: What Is Frame Narration? Narrative technique used in Heart of Darkness
Main narrative sets stage for secondary narrative
Story within another story Topic 2: How Is Frame Narration Utilized in Heart of Darkness? Main perspective is unnamed narrator on the Nellie
Secondary narrative is that of Marlow Topic 3: What is the Purpose of The Frame Narrative? Allow breaks in the story to describe the Thames and surroundings
Allows for descriptions of Marlow, paralleling him to Kurtz Impact is lessened
The reader is farther away from the atrocities in the Congo
Two levels between reader and events Topic 5: How is Framed Narrative important to understanding the story? Marlow's opinion is biased due to the horrific nature of events
Second narrator allows for objective examination of events "But Marlow was not typical (if his propensity to spin yarns be excepted). To him, the meaning of an episode was not inside like a kernel but outside, enveloping the tale which brought it out only as a glow brings out a haze, in the likeness of one of those misty halos that sometimes are made visible by the spectral illumination of moonshine." (Conrad 6) What does this quotation mean? The meaning of the story is outside of it
One must be outside the story to understand it Topic 4: What is the Effect of the Distance between the reader and Marlow? Conclusion: A summary of the presentation Breaks in story allow for description of Thames and surrounding area
Framed narration allows parallels to be made with Kurtz
Framed narration allows for more objective examination of events in story
Overall, important to understanding the story "It had become so pitch dark that we listeners could hardly see one another. For a long time already he, sitting apart, had been no more to us than a voice. There was not a word from anybody. The others might have been asleep, but I was awake. I listened, I listened on the watch for the sentence, for the word, that would give me the clue to the faint uneasiness inspired by this narrative that seemed to shape itself without human lips in the heavy night-air of the river." (Conrad 33) Break reminds reader of world outside of Congo
Unnamed narrator is curious to clue about uneasiness "The sea-reach of the Thames stretched before us like the beginning of an interminable waterway. In the offing the sea and the sky were welded together without a joint, and in the luminous space the tanned sails of the barges drifting up with the tide seemed to stand still in red clusters of canvas sharply peaked, with gleams of varnished sprits. A haze rested on the low shores that ran out to sea in vanishing flatness. The air was dark above Gravesend, and farther back still seemed condensed into a mournful gloom, brooding motionless over the biggest, and the greatest, town on earth." (Conrad 1) "Marlow sat cross-legged right aft, leaning against the mizzen-mast. He had sunken cheeks, a yellow complexion, a straight back, an ascetic aspect, and, with his arms dropped, the palms of hands outwards, resembled an idol." (Conrad 4) Marlow's sickly appearance shows that he's been through a lot
Marlow's deterioration can be seen
The horrific events of the Congo scarred both Kurtz and Marlow "You know I hate, detest, and can't bear a lie, not because I am straighter than the rest of us, but simply because it appalls me. There is a taint of death, a flavour of mortality in lies -- which is exactly what I hate and detest in the world -- what I want to forget" (Conrad 32) "'His last word -- to live with,' she insisted. 'Don't you understand I loved him -- I loved him -- I loved him!' 'I pulled myself together and spoke slowly. 'The last word he pronounced was -- your name.'" (Conrad 96) Marlow's lying shows how much he's been scarred
Broke his own rule because of the horrific nature of the events
Shows Marlow as an unreliable narrator
Full transcript