Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Heart of Darkness Works Cited

"About Buddha." About Buddha. 2007. About Buddhism. 26 Aug. 2008 .

"Alienists." The Medical Dictionary. 2008. The Free Dictionary. 26 Feb. 2008 .

Col, Jeananda. "John Franklin: English Explorer." John Franklin: English Explorer. 2000. Enchanted Learning. 26 Aug. 2008 .

"The English Channel." HowStuffWorks. 2008. 26 Aug. 2008 .

"Fleet Street." Wikipedia. 07 Aug. 2008. Wikipedia. 26 Aug. 2008 .

"Gravesend, Kent." Gravesend, Kent: Information from 26 Aug. 2008 .

Kemerling, Garth. "Plato." Plato. 9 Aug. 2006. The Philosophy Pages. 26 Aug. 2008 .

"Morituri te salutant = Those about to die salute you." Ancient Classical History. 2008. The New York Times Company. 26 Aug. 2008 .

Seeler, Oliver. "Francis Drake The Voyage." Francis Drake The Voyage. 1996. Nova Albion Research. 26 Aug. 2008 .

"Ships: Male vs. Female Pronouns." Encyclopedia Titanica Message Board. 03 Feb. 2005. 26 Aug. 2008 .

"Sleepwalking." Wikipedia. 23 Aug. 2008. Wikipedia. 26 Aug. 2008 .

"Whited sepulcher." Definition from the Merriam-Webster Dictionary. 2008. Merrian-Webster. 26 Aug. 2008 .

"Yawl." Wikipedia. 18 Aug. 2008. Wikipedia. 26 Aug. 2008 .

Tuesday, August 26, 2008



“I did not see the real significance of that wreck at once… Certainly the affair was too stupid… to be altogether natural…” (pg 20)

An example of foreshadowing, it is easy to find several examples of it throughout the novella since Marlow is telling his story from a looking-back standpoint. The fact that he mentions how unnatural the wrecking of the steamer lets the reader know that there is no way that it was unintentional.

EDIT: It is important that Conrad made it apparent that the wreck was intentional because it alludes to the fact Marlow's presence in the Congo is not exactly welcome or kosher. It foreshadows the future troubles Marlow will have with the Company members.

The Dying Native

The Dying Native

“He had a bit of white worsted round his neck-- Why? Where did he get it? Was it a badge-- an ornament-- a charm-- a propitiatory act? Was there any idea at all connected with it?” (pg. 17)

The white worsted Marlow speaks of is a piece of yarn but there seems to be no real explanation for why the native is wearing the yarn around his neck. What is truly interesting about his passage is why Marlow is so interested by why he is wearing the yarn around his neck. Marlow knows absolutely nothing about this man who is dying at his feet, but he stops to ponder (almost at length) why he is wearing a piece of yarn around his neck. Marlow seems horrified by the death around him but does little more than offering a biscuit he had in his pants, knowing that there is nothing he can do. Throughout the novella, Marlow is seen as apathetic at times but he always deeply introspective. Marlow is a laborer by trade but a thinker by nature.



“I heard men in that lonely ship were dying of fever at the rate of three a day…” (pg 14)

It may seem odd that men were dying of fever, but in the late 19th century (when Heart of Darkness takes place), fever was a serious risk especially on ships with little accessibility to medical supplies.

Ships as Females

Ships as Females

“I left in a French steamer and she…” (pg. 12)

There is no definitive answer as to why ships are referred to as females, but there are several reasons that are generally accepted. The most agreed upon explanation is that since sailors were away from their homes and families for such long periods of time, they would form attachments to their ships. Other reasons for giving ships a female gender are that ships were often dedicated to women, ships were worshipped by the sailors and, of course, because only a strong man could really handle a ship.



“It’s queer how out of touch with truth women are. They live in a world of their own, and there had never been anything like it, and never can be.” (pg. 12)

It is easy to see how Heart of Darkness could be seen as a misogynistic book but ion reality, the women are rather influential. On the surface, almost all of the female characters are seen as frivolous or simply weak. Marlow’s aunt is seen as a foolish woman who doesn’t really know anything about the world, but it must be pointed out that if not for his aunt, Marlow would never have gotten the job working for the Company. In terms of Kurtz’s mistress, she is only seen briefly by Marlow but he hears talk of how much influence she seems to have over the crazed Kurtz as well.



“…weaning those ignorant millions from their horrid ways…” (pg. 12)

In his meeting with his influential aunt, Marlow listens to her go on about how colonization is such a positive thing. This was a view shared by many Europeans. Bringing Christianity to the masses was thought to be a necessary service, something God wanted. Most people assumed the only reason that the “heathens” weren’t Christians was because they didn’t know any better. It was a good Christian’s job to bring the word of God into the jungle and educate the “ignorant millions”.