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Heart of Darkness. Impressionism. Why the Blurriness?. For modern novelists, the messiness and confusion and darkness of experience is interesting

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Why the blurriness
Why the Blurriness?

  • For modern novelists, the messiness and confusion and darkness of experience is interesting

  • Rather than trying to simplify and abstract a particular meaning from experience, novelists tend to wallow in the multiplicity of ideas and meanings and sensations that experience can provide

Why the blurriness1
Why the Blurriness?

  • Novelists are in the business of recreating and communicating the rich complexities of the experience itself.

  • Their purpose is to get the reader to re-live an experience, with all its complexity and messiness, all its darkness and ambiguity

Conrad s view
Conrad’s View

  • For Conrad, the world as we experience it is not a sort of place that can be reduced to a set of clear, explicit truths

  • Its truths—the truths of the psyche, of the human mind and soul—are messy, vague, irrational, suggestive, and dark

  • Conrad’s intention?: to lead his readers to an experience of the “heart of darkness,”not to shed the light of reason on it…but to recreate his experience of darkness in our feelings, our sensibilities, our own dark and mysterious hearts

Order in the midst of chaos hod s structure
Order in the midst of ChaosHOD’s Structure

  • Three: chapters, Marlow breaks off story 3 times, stations, women, central characters

  • Russian doll effect

  • Images

  • Opposition

Heart of darkness as modernist novel
Heart of Darkness as Modernist Novel

  • An interest in exploring the psychological

  • An awareness of primitiveness and savagery as the condition upon which civilization is built

  • Multiplicity, ambiguity, irony

A final thought
A Final Thought

  • Multiplicity, ambiguity, and irony are not the easiest forms of expression to cope with when you are a student and asked to express yourself clearly and directly. But it is precisely because the world appears to us to be multiple, ambiguous, and ironic that we must strive to speak and write clearly.

  • Otherwise—there is only darkness, only confusion

Questions to consider as you read
Questions to Consider as you Read:

  • What is evil? How does the novel seem to define evil?

  • What is good? How does the novel seem to define goodness?

  • Consider the following definition of darkness: the absence of light