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FLE 101 - Summary of Two Critiques

FLE 101 - Summary of Two Critiques - Akira Saito...

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Akira Saito [email protected] FLE 101, Prof. Mordzak September 30, 2007 Summary of two critiques of Heart of Darkness Heart of Darkness is a short story written by Joseph Conrad, based on his experience in Congo. The story starts off in England in the late 19 th century, when main character, Marlow, founds a map in a shop window and remembered his interest towards the North Pole, places around the equator, and a river could be seen on a continental map. And he realizes that there was a company trade on that river. So he got appointed by the company as a substitution for a captain in Congo, who was murdered by the natives as a revenge of the captain’s action. This short story portrays issues of imperialism, such as insanity and betrayal. While imperialism is considered as major theme of this text by general audiences, Inga Clendinnen considered the story as a racism driven piece of art in her scholarly journal “Preempting Postcolonial Critique: Europeans in Heart of Darkness”. Clive Barnett analyzed feminism nature of the text in “A Choice of Nightmare Narration and Desire in Heart of Darkness”. Both texts base their thesis on diction, imagery, theme, and characterization. The two texts describe the issue well, thus deepen and widen the reader’s understanding of Conrad’s short story Heart of Darkness. Barnett stated first noticeable point was about Marlow’s course of action based on his characterization which could affect the interpretation of the text. She quoted the passage below from Heart of Darkness,
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I did not betray Kurtz--it was ordered I should never betray him--it was written I should be loyal to the nightmare of my choice. I was anxious to deal with this shadow of myself alone,--and to this day I don't know why I was so jealous of sharing with anyone the peculiar blackness of that experience. (Conrad, P. 64)
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