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Heart of Darkness. First Impressions. Look at the image below. What is your initial response to the image and why?. What do you think is being depicted in the image?. What is your response now and why?. In what ways do the details make sense in the context of the picture as a whole?.

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Heart of darkness

Heart of Darkness

First Impressions


Look at the image below what is your initial response to the image and why
Look at the image below.What is your initial response to the image and why?


What do you think is being depicted in the image
What do you think is being depicted in the image?




In what ways did looking too closely at only a part of the image get in the way of you being able to understand what the image looks like?


In what ways would a photograph of the scene depicted in the painting be different? In other words, how might the experience/ response change if you were to have looked at a photograph of the scene that the painter was looking at when he created his work?


painting be different? In other words, how might the experience/ response change if you were to have looked at a photograph of the scene that the painter was looking at when he created his work?About the middle of the nineteenth century the French painters Manet, Monet, Degas, Renoir, and others revolted from the conventional and academic conceptions of painting and held that it was more important to retain the impressions an object makes

Georges Seurat – Clothes on the Grass


on the artist than meticulously to present the appearance of that object by precise detail and careful, realistic finish. . . They suggested the features of an object with a few strokes; they were more interested in ATMOSPHERE

Renoir – Rising Path Through High Grass


than in perspective or outline. that object by precise detail and careful, realistic finish. . . They suggested the features of an object with a few strokes; they were more interested in ATMOSPHERE‘Instead of painting a tree,’ says Lewis Mumford, the impressionist ‘painted the effect of a tree.’ The movement had its counterpart in literature, writers accepting the same conviction that personal attitudes and moods of the writer were legitimate elements in exploring character or setting or action.

Degas – Bathers on the Grass


Briefly, the literary that object by precise detail and careful, realistic finish. . . They suggested the features of an object with a few strokes; they were more interested in ATMOSPHEREimpressionist holds that the expression of such elements as these through the fleeting impression of a moment is more significant artistically than a photographic presentation of cold fact.

Monet – Luncheon on the Grass


The object of the impressionist, then, is not to present his material as it is to the objective observer but as it is seen or felt to be by himself in a single passing moment.”- C. Hugh Holman, A Handbook to Literature

Picasso – Luncheon on the Grass


Impressionist writer characteristics: material as it is to the objective observer but as it is * They use a narrative style that is intentionally ambiguous, placing more responsibility on the reader to form his or her conclusions about events within the novel, rather than relying on the narrator.

Manet – Luncheon on the Grass


* They often describe the action through the eyes of the character while the events are occurring, rather than providing details after the character has already processed the action. The result is sometimes like being in an accident – where everything appears to be moving in slow motion. All of the details seem unclear.


* They character ’re concerned with the “emotional landscape”of the setting. They’re interested in ways the setting evokes certain emotional responses from both the character and the reader.


* They employ details in such a way that it character ’s sometimes difficult to see a clear picture of events if you focus on the details too closely. Much like an impressionistic painting, it’s only possible to get a full picture once you stand back from the novel and view it in its entirety.


* They often avoid a chronological telling of events. Instead, they give the reader information in a way that forces them to focus on how and why things happen rather than on the order in which they occur.


The following passage from Joseph Conrad Instead, they give the reader information in a way that forces them to focus on ’s Heart of Darkness reflects the impressionist style of writing:

“I saw a face amongst the leaves on the level with my own, looking at me very fierce and steady; and then suddenly, as though a veil had been removed from my eyes, I made out, deep in the tangled gloom, naked breasts, arms, legs, glaring eyes – the bush was swarming with human limbs in movement, glistening, of bronze colour. The twigs shook, swayed, and rustled, the arrows flew out of them, and then the shutter came to.”


Instead, they give the reader information in a way that forces them to focus on I saw a face amongst the leaves on the level with my own, looking at me very fierce and steady; and then suddenly, as though a veil had been removed from my eyes, I made out, deep in the tangled gloom, naked breasts, arms, legs, glaring eyes – the bush was swarming with human limbs in movement, glistening, of bronze colour. The twigs shook, swayed, and rustled, the arrows flew out of them, and then the shutter came to.”

Notice how Conrad’s narrator reports things as they are happening, before he’s had a chance to process the information. Notice also the attention

to color and movement. It’s interesting to note that at this point, the speaker is actually under attack. Yet it takes him a few more lines before he realizes this, further enhancing the sense

that the reader is experiencing the attack with the narrator.

Joseph Conrad


It Instead, they give the reader information in a way that forces them to focus on ’s important to note here that authors don’t subscribe to a particular school and then write according to a set of rules or standards.

Pissaro – Woman Picking Grass


It s generally critics who come along later and notice trends between various artists
It Instead, they give the reader information in a way that forces them to focus on ’s generally critics who come along later and notice trends between various artists

Pissaro – Woman Picking Grass


who then place the artists in the various categories. Instead, they give the reader information in a way that forces them to focus on To get a better idea of what an impressionist painting looks like, visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Web site at http://www.metmuseum.org

Pissaro – Woman Picking Grass


To get a better idea of what an impressionist work of literature looks like, get ready to plunge into . . .


Heart of Darkness literature looks like, get ready to plunge into . . .

by Joseph Conrad


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