CONRAD COPPOLA PAPER - Sarah Barrett November 28, 2006 Lit...

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Sarah Barrett November 28, 2006 Lit Studies Conrad Coppola Paper Heart of Darkness and Apocalypse Now Redux : Historical and Cultural Narratives Conrad and Coppola recount a narrative of infectious evil which there is every reason to suppose has been told before and will be told again, a story inexhaustible, never exorcized, the oldest story of all: the truth about human nature that links in one unbroken narrative the corrupting power of Roman colonization and the imperialistic pride of Victorian England… extending this historical line forward into American militarism…turning the screw of cyclic history and spiral plotting one more notch into violent confrontation—not only between national armies but between separate entities innately bonded, between antihero and villain, executioner and Antichrist. 1 Within the Age of Technology, the reproduction of narrative fiction into film has become so media-oriented that the product is often discarded as illegitimate. In the reproduction process, the content is inherently altered by the producer’s interpretation; the differences that emerge are not only altered by the change of medium and transition of narrative techniques, but resituated within a new cultural and historical context. Francis Coppola’s films Apocalypse Now (1979) and Apocalypse Now Redux (2001) echo the plot, characterization, and themes found in the structural genius of Joseph Conrad’s novella Heart of Darkness (1899). While the parallels are palpable and numerous, Coppola’s films also reveal considerable alterations to Conrad’s prose. In an effort to sustain Conrad’s forever-pertinent message, on the evils of imperialism and greed-driven capitalism, Coppola recreates the setting and circumstance of the late 1800s European existence in the Congo as America’s military efforts in Vietnam over eighty years later. For, “the meaning of an episode [is] not inside like a kernel but outside, enveloping the tale which [brings] it out only as a glow brings out a haze, in the likeness of one of these misty halos that, sometimes, are made visible by the spectral illumination of moonshine” 1 From Garrett Stewart’s “Coppola’s Conrad: The Repetitions of Complicity” (456)
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(5). The narrative techniques used in each genre work to seduce the audience into the appropriate desired historical and cultural contexts; At the end of the nineteenth century, European nations jumped at the chance to fulfill The White Man’s Burden, culminating in the redefinition of imperialism, from the motivations of ‘gold, glory, and gospel’ to ‘empire for empire’s sake,’ and the Scramble for Africa. It was generally esteemed that “[their] refined society attaches human life (and with reason) a value unknown to barbarous communities….this desirable spread of civilization, we count upon the means of action which confer upon us dominion and the sanction of right, it is not less true that our ultimate end is a work of peace….so from the
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This note was uploaded on 04/14/2008 for the course ENGL 30100 taught by Professor Johnstaud during the Fall '08 term at Notre Dame.

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CONRAD COPPOLA PAPER - Sarah Barrett November 28, 2006 Lit...

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