And why not?"
This novella is, above all, an exploration of hypocrisy, ambiguity, and moral confusion. It explodes the idea of the proverbial choice between the lesser of two evils. As the idealistic Marlow is forced to align himself with either the hypocritical and malicious colonial bureaucracy or the openly malevolent, rule-defying Kurtz, it becomes increasingly clear that to try to judge either alternative is an act of folly: how can moral standards or social values be relevant in judging evil? Is there such thing as insanity in a world that has already gone insane? On his boat journey to his mission's starting point, Willard remembers the other times he had killed: "There were those six that I knew about for sure, close enough to blow their last breath in my face. But this time, it was an American and an officer. It wasn't supposed to make any difference to me, but it did." Willard wonders at the hypocrisy of the trumped-up murder charges received from military intelligence: "*****! Charging a man with murder in this place was like handing out speeding tickets at the Indy 500. I took the mission. What the hell else was I gonna do? But I really didn't know what I'd do when I found him."
The number of ridiculous situations Marlow witnesses act as reflections of the larger issue: at one station, for instance, he sees a man trying to carry water in a bucket with a large hole in it. At the Outer Station, he watches native laborers blast away at a hillside with no particular goal in mind. The absurd involves both insignificant silliness and life-or-death issues, often simultaneously. That the serious and the mundane are treated similarly suggests a profound moral confusion and a tremendous hypocrisy: it is terrifying that Kurtz's homicidal megalomania and a leaky bucket provoke essentially the…… [Read More]
Okonkwo's journey is one of self-imposed exile. So, too, is the journey of the Kurtz character in Conrad's Heart of Darkness and Coppola's Apocalypse Now. Thus, Kurtz takes the place of the protagonist as being the symbolic character catalyst in Heart of Darkness and Things Fall Apart. The Kurtz character is more similar to the Okonkwo character than either Marlow or Willard. For this reason, Kurtz can be considered a default protagonist. The journey that Kurtz took has already happened, though. The reader of Heart of Darkness and the viewer of Apocalypse Now does not know how Kurtz got to that point. All we know is that Kurtz lost his mind, went insane, and is now a freak example of the heart of darkness of the human soul.
Even if their exile is self-imposed, Okonkwo and Kurtz remain a world apart from the rest of society. Psychologically and spiritually, Okonkwo and Kurtz are exiled. Their journeys are tragic in the sense that they are no longer in control of their bodies, minds, and souls. Regardless of how the Kurtz characters got to the center of the jungle and lost their minds, they are certainly portrayed as being insane. The journey is one that took them to a point at which no human being can return. They have seen the heart of darkness. Okonkwo is the same. He has not only seen but, like Kurtz, acted out the heart of darkness. The Kurtzes and Okonkwo have killed. They know what it is like to be insane and to be disconnected from the rest of humanity. Their journeys are not journeys to enlightenment but to hell.
Achebe actually portrays Okonkwo's exile as also being at least in part self-imposed, even though he was technically banished from the community. After all, Okonkwo must take responsibility for the beating of his wife and the death of Ikemefuna. His willful, selfish actions resulted in exile. The boy's death directly predicated Okonkwo's carelessness at the funeral.…… [Read More]
Euro v Afro Centric Perspectives
The unfolding of events can be told from a variety of perspectives that are highly influenced by an individual's background and personal prejudices. Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad and Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe provide two distinct and polar perspectives. Heart of Darkness, and consequently the film adaptation Apocalypse Now, directed by Francis Ford Coppola, provides an Anglo-centric perspective on colonialism and imperialism, whereas Things Fall Apart provides an Afro-centric account of the events that transpire.
Heart of Darkness, published in 1899, follows Charles Marlow as he sets out to meet Mr. Kurtz, a smart and successful ivory trader who has established residency and taken over a village at Central Station. Conrad creates a very imperialistic character through Kurtz. Like many imperialistic countries that sought to expand their territories for political and financial gain, Kurtz seeks out to explore as much of Congo for personal gain. Kurtz asks, "What was he doing? exploring or what?," to which a response of "Oh, yes, of course,' he had discovered lots of villages, a lake, too -- he did not know exactly in what direction; it was dangerous to inquire too much -- but mostly his expeditions had been for ivory…'To speak plainly, he raided the country" (Conrad 31). In this regard, Kurtz's attitude is very European in the way that he unabashedly explores unknown regions without any regard for who or what he may encounter. The effects of imperialism can best be described by Marlow who comments, "The conquest of the earth, which mostly means taking it away from those who have a different complexion or slightly flatter noses than ourselves, is not a pretty thing when you look into it too much" (5). Kurtz's attitude reflects the imperialist attitudes of Europeans, who throughout history, were obsessed with expanding their empires in order to demonstrate they had power. Paradoxically, Marlow argues Kurtz's family background is…… [Read More]
MOVIE APOCALYPSE NOW Abstract: This is an analysis of the use of the Vietnam War as a cultural backdrop in the movie Apocalypse Now. It outlines how Francis Coppola uses Vietnam War as the basis for cultural differentiation, how director uses the narrator / voice over of Willard and it accounts for two combats during the journey up river. It uses only the movie as a source in MLA format.
Francis Coppola's Apocalypse Now is one in a series of Vietnam War story. With Vietnam as the cultural backdrop, Coppola presents the bizarre war environment through the behavior of the various characters of the movie especially Kurtz and Kilgore. To make the Vietnam War experience more personal Coppola uses voice over of the protagonist Willard (played by Martin Sheen), transitioning his uncultured, all-American thoughts to gradually one of a soldier in Vietnam. In essence Willard is an assassin sent to terminate the command" of Colonel Kurtz (played by Marlon Brando). But as the plot of the movie develops, one sees Willard unfolding a humanistic side of himself. The opening scene shows he is in a Saigon hotel, awaiting his mission. He thinks how strange it is to kill one's fellow countrymen in a foreign land. "There were those six that I knew about for sure, close enough to blow their last breath in my face. But this time, it was an American and an officer. It wasn't supposed to make any difference to me, but it did." [Apocalypse Now]. The other characters on the other hand become more chaotic. Their irrational behavior, the result of war pressure and a strange environment, contributed to the violent trip up river.
Although their mission is to eliminate Kurtz, during their trip they faced many incidents of combat as well. These combats only depict the change in behavior of rational men in a war. Coppola captures the essence of Vietnamese jungles and contrasts the American existence on foreign lands by placing the soldier against the Viet Cong. The first combat for instance shows Kurtz guiding his men, killing senseless. This battle against Lt. Col. Kilgore (played by Robert Duvall) shows a realistic footage of napalms unit of a Vietnamese Village. Coppola justifies the position of these soldiers…… [Read More]
Colonialism and Imperialism in Heart of Darkness, Things Fall Apart, And Apocalypse Now
The shadow of colonization: Projecting European anxieties onto nonwhite peoples
The Jungian concept of 'the shadow' is not that 'the shadow' is inherently dark or evil: rather, it is a hidden part of an individual or collective subconscious that is a repository of all of the aspects of society wishes to hide. The shadow' may contain elements of forbidden sexuality, violence, or other desires that people wish to forget. As seen in Heart of Darkness and Things Fall Apart, colonial expansion allowed the dominant European powers to make 'shadows' of nonwhite peoples. Rather than viewing the people they conquered on their own terms, the Europeans projected their own fears and anxieties upon the colonized [THESIS].
For example, at the time of 19th century imperialism, sexuality was of great concern to the Europeans, namely its containment and regulation. Thus they viewed nonwhite people as hyper-sexualized, focusing on elements of African culture (like not wearing European-style clothes) as base and evil. Although they engaged in brutality themselves, Europeans focused upon the non-Christian customs of nonwhites and demonized those customs as inherently evil and bloody. They refused to see the parallels between their own expansionist culture and those of warlike tribal customs.
In Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness, the projected notion of the 'shadow' upon nonwhite peoples is clearly seen in the manner in which the narrator Marlow views the sexuality of tribal women vs. white women. Marlow, a European, presents the point-of-view that the formerly impeccable representation of civilization Mr. Kurtz has been 'corrupted' by the evils of the so-called Dark Continent of Africa. He views African women as representing open, naked sexuality, versus the contained and pure image of Kurtz's beloved. Africa becomes the 'shadow' repository for fears about unchecked female sexuality and male carnality. Jung referred to the shadow as the "often dangerous…primitive, uncivilized, pre-evolutionary past of the species. The shadow is represented as jealousy and repressed desires like avarice, aspects which most people would prefer not to recognize as part of their being" (Schmuhl & Guches 2003). Marlow's view of the colonized is not revelatory about African's own sexual attitudes or base, primitive nature but rather reflects the hidden, shadow desires of repressed Europeans to escape the confining strictures of their own society.
While in Africa, Kurtz deliberately…… [Read More]
Real Hearts Going After Apocalypses
Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad was one of the first works of fiction to explore modernist notions of reality, and specifically, what makes an experience "real." "Apocalypse Now" can, in many ways, be thought of as the transposition of Conrad's ideas onto a modern war. Tim O'Brien's Going After Cacciato investigates similar themes concerning mental and physical interpretations of reality and is also placed in the Vietnam War. Together, these three works provide insights into the minds of Francis Ford Coppola, Tim O'Brien, and Joseph Conrad; in particular, they reveal how these three artists structure their interpretations of reality through direct experience, memories, and dreams.
Conrad was, of course, a pre-modernist author. He did not go as far as many that followed him, like Wolfe or Hemmingway, who jumped from moment to moment, and perspective to perspective in an effort to represent reality as a combination of people, ideas and emotions. However, Conrad did intentionally try to deviate from the traditional, chronological approach to storytelling. We, as the readers, are distanced three times from the actual people and events in his story: Africa is seen through Marlow's perspective, Marlow is seen through the narrator's perspective, and finally, the reader is left to interpret the tale.
The narrator tells us that "to him [Marlow] the meaning of an episode was not inside like a kernel but outside, enveloping the tale which brought 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." (Conrad 7). Importantly, it is the narrator that details the purpose of Marlow's story: the meaning is engulfed in haze and uncertainty -- this haze cannot be waved away -- but the uncertainty is what makes any meaning we do see possible. Truly, this is a cryptic theme for a novel. Additionally, the narrator, not Marlow, claims that this is the purpose of the story.…… [Read More]
Close up shots are also used in this sequence to depict the soldiers that are flying in the helicopters during the attack. By using close up shots, the camera implies that the soldiers are being seen from the point-of-view of someone that would be flying alongside the men. Additionally, when the beach is being bombed by jets -- during which Lt. Col. Kilgore gives his infamous napalm speech -- the camera tracks the jets, following them as they approach the beach and drop their bombs.
There is also great use of skewed shots during this sequence however, their use may be incidental. Because the cameras that are being used to showcase the soldiers in the helicopters, and to follow the helicopters in motion, are not stationary, the skewed aspects of the shots help to emphasize the action and movements of a helicopter. The skewed shots also help to make the viewer feel as though they were in the helicopters. The dizzying turns and angles in the scenes are captured realistically and help to highlight the chaos of war.
In addition to the various angles and types of shots that are used during this initial invasion, the color scheme of the film helps to establish a sense of realism. The cinematography does not set out to capture the events that occur through documentary style camera work, but rather intends to portray the events as though they were being seen in person. The colors in the film are intended to remain natural and neutral and be reflective of the environment in which the action takes place. There is an abundance of dark, jungle green in the film which only gets darker as Willard makes his way deeper into the jungle. The brightness of the day in this initial sequence also establishes it as an event that takes place towards the beginning of the film. As the film progressively gets darker in symbolism, action, imagery, and plot as Willard makes his way towards Kurtz, so does the cinematography and editing of the film.
In Apocalypse Now the cinematography helps to drive the film's plot, transforming as the film progresses and emphasizing the devolution of order and civility towards the end of the film. Through…… [Read More]
Willard's internal trauma is representative of the shock many Americans must have felt at seeing the violence inflicted in their name, and thus his killing of Kurtz represents a kind of superficial destruction of the "bad seed" that supposedly tainted the otherwise respectable and honorable American military. By focusing on the "primitive" evil embodied by Kurtz, the film allows the more "subtle and civilized manifestations of evil" in the form of American foreign policy to go unquestioned (Maier-Katkin 584-585). One can see the irony of American imperialism supposedly being "defeated" in Apocalypse Now simply by noting that just a few months after its release in August of 1979, the Iranian Revolution and subsequent hostage crisis once again brought to the fore the widespread and ongoing effects of American imperialism.
In addition acting as a salve for those audiences repellant at the horror of imperialism while reluctant to admit any complicity in it, Apocalypse Now, in contrast to Heart of Darkness, serves to perpetuate further imperial endeavors by essentially glamorizing war and horror in the form of spectacle. While Marlow's narration reveals a strong aversion to the violence and horror committed in the name of empire, Apocalypse Now (partially due to its filmic nature) seems to revel in this violence, with its lovingly crafted shots of napalm exploding or the scene of Kurtz's death interspersed with images of a ritual sacrifice. As Keith Solomon notes, with its "emphasis on technology and the spectacle of war," Apocalypse Now serves to erase the distinction between "the real" and "the virtual" because visually they become the same; as such, Apocalypse Now essentially predicted the kind of "embedded reporting" now common in American imperial endeavors, but it did so uncritically, and thus actually helps contribute to this tendency (Solomon 25).
This actually helps explain why it is so important for Willard to function as a stand-in for the audience, defeating the evil monster. By definition, portraying an imperial war as a spectacle makes it so that "as viewers, our own reception of that spectacle as entertainment turns us into tacit supporters of the imperial project" (Solomon 25). The film had to use Willard as a means of comforting its audience's uncomfortable relationship with empire, because otherwise the film and the audience's support of that empire would have been explicit. By framing itself as opposed to the violence…… [Read More]
Apocalypse of Art in the Tech Era
Modern Apocalypse Art and Technological Aspects
The purpose of this paper is to examine modern art, in particular that which is referred to as "apocalypse art" and further to examine the interactions between art and technology. Specifically this paper will look at the new dimensions that technology has contributed to the rendering of art as well as what contribution or impact that art has rendered to technology.
The methodology for this study is through examination of several of the artists as well as scholars who are in some way interconnected in this process of producing apocalypse art.
The question that seems to weigh on the minds of those who view the modern "apocalypse" art exhibits asks:
Has this artist attempted to achieve the effect of shock or is the artist attempting to convey some deeper truth?"
London's Art Gallery featured an exhibit entitled "Apocalypse" in the year of 2000. Reports were many but the theme of the reports were pretty much the same which was that of shock, ridicule and disbelief that the artist could take themselves as "real." Reuters News, London, description of the exhibit was:
giant sculpture in the shape of a swastika, a model of the pope being crushed by a meteorite, and a large pile of rubbish." (Reuters News 2000)
The report coming from CNN stated that:
An art exhibition featuring a model of the Pope struck dead by a meteorite, tortured miniature figures and a video depicting domestic violence is set to bring fresh controversy to London's Royal Academy of Art. (CNN News 2000)
I. Joe-Peter Witkin: Exploitive, Sensitive and Intuitive
Art can be said to be the demonstration of a set of ideas, beliefs or even ideals, as well as a conscious moments when realization of that which is sublime is awakened. When these moments, after having risen to the sublime, sweep low to the materialistic in hopes of finding definition the result can be somewhat alarming or shocking. For example, The work of Witkin has been labeled…… [Read More]
Walk to the End of the World
It is a post-apocalyptic account of a journey of a father and his young son over a time of several months, across a landscape blasted by an unspecified cataclysm that has destroyed most of civilization and, in the interceding years, all life on Earth. George and his child Tim proceed with a trip together where they know they won't survive. The area is loaded with fiery remains and without living creatures and vegetation. A significant number of remaining human survivors have depended on savagery, searching the debris of city and nation alike for substance. The boy's mom, pregnant with him at the season of the catastrophe, surrendered trust and conferred suicide some time before the story started, in spite of the father's requests. Acknowledging they can't survive the approaching winter where they are, the father takes the boy south, along unfilled streets towards the ocean, conveying their small belonging in their rucksacks and a general store truck.
When he woke up in the woods, it was dark. He reached out to touch the boy resting close to him. Evenings dull past dimness. Furthermore, the days dimmer than what had gone some time recently. With the first dim light, he climbed and left the boy resting and exited to the street and studied the country to the south. He thought the month was October yet he wasn't certain. He hadn't kept a calendar for a considerable length of time. They were moving south. There'd be no surviving another winter here. When he returned, Tim was still snoozing. He pulled the blue plastic tarp off him and did it to the grocery truck and stuffed it. About an hour later, they were on the road. Fiery debris moving over the street and the drooping hands of visually impaired wire hung from the darkened light poles crying daintily in the wind. A burned house in a clearing and past that a scope of grounds stark and dark. Everything as it once had been was now faded and weathered. There were…… [Read More]
Heart of Darkness and Apocalypse Now
Comparing and Contrasting Coppola's Apocalypse with Conrad's Darkness
While Francis Ford Coppola's Apocalypse Now is framed by the music of The Doors, Joseph Conrad's novella Heart of Darkness, upon which the film is based, uses the narration of Marlow as a framing device for the murky tale of the "horror" that hides in the human heart. The difference in framing devices has more to do with the difference in medium and inspiration than it does in overall meaning (Greiff 188) -- and yet the music of The Doors provides a much bleaker context for the narrative that Coppola explores in Apocalypse Now than the stylishly literary and ultimately ironic narrative woven by Conrad. Coppola, in fact, updated the narrative in a number of other ways -- namely in the shift of time and setting from the Congo at the turn of the century to the Mekong River in Vietnam during the Vietnam War. However, if Conrad is writing at one remove from the Age of Faith, writing as he says out of love for Fidelity as an ideal (Najder 204), Coppola is filming at one remove from Conrad, illustrating a world that has regressed even beyond the idea of Fidelity and fully embraced the "horror" that Kurtz sees within himself (Ebert). For Coppola, the conflict in Vietnam was the perfect illustration of this horror, and rather than appeal to a sense of what has been lost and the fear of approaching it (as Conrad does in Heart of Darkness), Coppola rather relishes in it and offers an indictment of what has been attained: a mad empire, a heartless new imperialism, a lunatic fringe. This paper will compare and contrast Coppola's Apocalypse Now with Conrad's Heart of Darkness and show how Coppola's epic may be better understood as a modern-day re-interpretation of Conrad's novella rather than as a modernized adaptation.
Louis K. Greiff observes that Conrad receives no screen credit in Coppola's film. This omission, furthermore, has been viewed by some as "confirmation that Apocalypse Now insults its literary predecessor by repeatedly violating the novel's original shape and substance" (Greiff 188). However, Greiff argues that Coppola is not as slighting to Conrad's vision as critics might suggest. On the contrary, Greiff contests that Coppola does indeed pay "meaningful…… [Read More]
Heart of Darkness and Apocalypse Now
Heart of Darkness
The film version of Conrad's famous novel Heart of Darkness by Francis Ford Coppola entitled Apocalypse Now has been acclaimed as an important and insightful film. The novel is based on the early colonial invasion of Africa, while the film version deals with the context and the reality of the Vietnam War.
However, the film follows the major themes and underlying meaning of the novel and in fact expands on the novel by bringing these themes into the modern context. Coppola's film is essentially successful in capturing the atmosphere of the book and in portraying the conflict between good and evil in the human heart -- especially with regards to the character of Kurtz.
It should be noted that Coppola saw the film as much more than just another movie about the Vietnam conflict and the horror and confusion of that war. At the Cannes Film Festival in 1979 he stated that Apocalypse Now
… is not a movie; my film is not about Vietnam, it is Vietnam. It portrays what it was really like. It is crazy. It is very much like the way the Americans were in Vietnam. We were in the jungle. There were too many of us. We had access to too much money, too much equipment. And we went insane.
In other words, it is a film about human nature and the evil that lies hidden in the human heart -- no matter whether it is in the colonization of Africa or in Vietnam. In this sense the novel by Conrad serves as an artistic platform on which Coppola builds his cinematic creation.
The Heart of Darkness can be interpreted on many different levels. These include the psychological, sociological, ethical and political dimensions. The book is about the effects of imperialism in Africa but it also explores themes such as the search for self and identity in human nature. Kurtz is the focus of both the film and the book. He portrays a character that has gone beyond the boundaries of accepted society. As…… [Read More]
Horror, the Horror:
Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness vs. Francis Ford Coppola's Apocalypse Now
I stood on this hillside, I foresaw that in the blinding sunshine of that land I would become acquainted with a flabby, pretending, weak-eyed devil of a rapacious and pitiless folly. How insidious he could be, too, I was only to find out several months later and a thousand miles farther -- Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness
The director Francis Ford Coppola's 1979 Vietnam epic entitled Apocalypse Now makes a direct analogy in its symbolism as well as its plot structure with Joseph Conrad's famous 1899 novella about colonialism in the Belgian Congo entitled Heart of Darkness. This is most notable in the character played by Marlon Brando: Colonel Kurtz, who is named after Conrad's Kurtz, an important figure in a fictional ivory trading company in the Congo. Both works present white men that have, for various reasons, gone into the jungle and 'gone native' in the sense that they have lost their belief in civilized morality. Brando's Kurtz has given up his loyalty to U.S. military forces and instead praises the Viet Cong in the small kingdom of fear he has created deep in Cambodia. Mr. Kurtz in the Conrad narrative has taken on a native concubine and keeps the people in thrall with his persona and his ability to use their superstitions against them.
Both works suggest that the jungle is corrupting, but also that whites corrupt the lands they invade. Of course, Apocalypse Now is about the Vietnam War, rather than the type of direct, economic exploitation that occurred in the Belgian Congo when Conrad wrote. In contrast to the novel, where the narrator Marlow is given the task of saving Kurtz, Captain Willard is given the task of assassinating the rogue special agent Kurtz. Marlow becomes fascinated with the corrupt figure of Kurtz while Willard's view of the man is more one of horror, as he watches Kurtz kill one of his men before his eyes. In the film, the U.S. government knows all too well that Kurtz is a rogue agent, although it is revealed ironically that at one point Kurtz was considered one…… [Read More]
While it does not in any way excuse illegal hostile actions against non-combatants, it does illustrate that one of the purposes of having rules for war is, precisely, to avoid some of the consequences that are readily foreseeable when either side violates them.
In many cases, North Vietnamese civilians were directly involved in supporting the war effort. Frequently, combatants disguised themselves by day as civilians and then attacked U.S. forces at night. In other cases, civilians helped lure U.S. soldiers into ambushes and booby traps. While even that does not excuse retaliating against (other) civilians or attacking the entire village in retaliation, it does illustrate that violating the rules of war by one side is likely to provoke hostile responses in kind. That is simply human nature and it is one of the many reasons that both sides in any conflict should always respect the rules of warfare.
Historical Examples of Violations of the Rules of War in Larger Perspective
World War two also featured numerous examples of fundamental violations of the most basic rules of warfare. The Nazis, in particular, had absolutely no respect for civilian populations and frequently murdered entire villages, such as in retaliation for partisan attacks against their forces. Of course, their systematic murder of millions of civilians in occupied territories were the most horrific and extensive crimes against humanity ever committed in human warfare. The Nazis also sometimes executed captured prisoners and also donned captured uniforms to infiltrate Allied front lines. The Japanese were also notorious for brutalizing and murdering captured prisoners of war and for brutalizing and murdering civilian populations, such as in China and the in the Philippines. The infamous Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941 was also a fundamental violation of the rules of war because it preceded any formal declaration of war.
While the U.S. never committed wide-scale or systematic violations of the rules of war in Vietnam such as by sanctioning intentional attacks on civilians, it did violate…… [Read More]
Heart of Darkness and Apocalypse Now We do not generally link the dark vision of Joseph Conrad's "Heart of Darkness" to the fripperies of Jane Austen, but we should do so because these writers can be seen as important bookmarks to the era of the modern novel and we cannot understand Conrad's work without understanding its connections to his time. By looking back to a writer like Austen we can seen how much had changed in the world at large and in the world of the novel during the Victorian era and the ways in which authors had begun to lose faith in the power of language to represent, to contain and to describe language.
We cannot understand Conrad's relationship to language without understanding the larger context within which literature was created and consumed. From the coronation of Queen Victoria in 1837 until her death in 1901, was an era of a number of key social changes that would force writers to take clear positions on issues of immediate importance to rest of society. Thus we see very little social criticism in Austen - whose Pride and Prejudice was written 20 years before Victoria ascended the throne - and almost exclusively social comment in Conrad's long short story, published in 1902, the year after Victoria died, as Levine (1991) argues. But even as writers begin to become engaged more and more in the world at large, they become increasingly aware of the fact that language is of limited use in effecting change. For a writer like Austen, the power of language had only to carry a plot (taken more or less from life) and characters (taken more or less from life); for Conrad language had to have to be able to transform the world. It is thus hardly surprising that Austen should find language adequate to her desires and her needs and that Conrad should find it inadequate.
Among the key political and historical developments during Victoria's…… [Read More]
God created the dispensations and guides humanity differently during each period. C.I Scofield outlines the dispensations including Innocence, Conscience, Human Government, Promise, Law, Church, and Kingdom ("End Times" 4). Dispensationalism is based on a literal and unequivocal interpretation of the Bible ("End Times" 4). Efird, for instance, describes dispenstionalism a historically accurate and nearly scientific method of discerning Biblical prophecy based on a close reading of the sacred text. Efird claims that dispensationalism prevents the "disappointment and embarrassment" that has plagued believers in the apocalypse (7). Dispensationalism is a relatively new type of Christian eschatology and has the unique hallmarks of American Protestantism. The Catholic Church does not embrace a strict interpretation of millennialism. On the contrary, Catholics prefer a more symbolic interpretation of the Book of Revelations ("End Times" 4).
Regardless of the denomination of Christianity, the end times is central to the religion's teachings, its cosmology, its theology, and its worldview. What all the Christian points-of-view share in common is that the Rapture, the Antichrist, and the Millennium are part of the End of Days. The Rapture refers to the resilience of believers during the end times, the "rising up" to heaven while the non-believers are left behind. Christians disagree strongly over what the Rapture actually entails, and when it will take place. For some, the Rapture is a physical "rising up" to heaven, an event reserved for believers in Christ. For others, the Rapture is only symbolic.
The Antichrist is also a central concept in Christian eschatology. Jesus needs a nemesis, and that nemesis is Satan incarnate as an archetypal enemy. The most literal interpretations of the Book of Revelations focus almost exclusively on the battle between Jesus Christ and the Antichrist, to the point where worldly events do not matter. "When the world begins to wind down, we will not be looking for something to happen; we will be looking for someone to come," (Rogers 3). The final battle between Christ and the Antichrist is sometimes called Great Tribulation, especially by dispensationalists ("End Times" 5).
Worldly events do matter to most believers in the end times. Various historical events have triggered interest in the end times, the most recent…… [Read More]
classic films, and what makes them classic. Specifically, it will contain a discussion of what makes a film "classic" and use a specific film that I believe is classic, with good quality reasons for the answer.
The term "classic film" often evokes thoughts of an old film, often shown and enjoyed by audiences throughout many decades. The film could be a musical, such as "The Wizard of Oz," or a drama, such as "Apocalypse Now." Both films (and scores of others) have been called classics, and are often shown on network and cable channels. What makes these films classic?
Some might say it is the acting that makes a film a classic. In "The Wizard of Oz," for example, each actor, from Judy Garland as Dorothy, to Margaret Hamilton as the Wicked Witch is perfectly cast, and creates their role with great talent and charm. They set the stage for all actors who tried to recreate the roles, and made them classic and enduring characters. "Enduring" is a word that seems to go hand-in-hand with classic films, for they endure through time, just as "The Wizard of Oz" has done. It is as enjoyable and magical today as when it was first shown in theatres in 1939.
Close in importance to the characters and casting is the writing. Good writing will not always make a classic film, but most classic films do benefit from great scripts. Many critics call
Apocalypse Now" a modern telling of Joseph Conrad's haunting tale "Heart of Darkness." The movie is based on a classic fiction tale, and so becomes a classic in its own right. The screenwriter uses the same disturbing themes as Conrad, and the writing adds depth to the characters and the film itself. "Apocalypse Now" is a stunning film, both mentally and visually. No matter what the viewer's reaction, the movie makes you stop and think.…… [Read More]
Post Colonial Literature
Historical literature is filled with examples of pre- and post-colonialist paradigms. Within each of these models, however, there is a certain part of a larger story that can only be told in the larger view of the historical process. One of the grand themes that help us wade through that process is that of the dehumanization of the individual. For whatever psychotically reasons, humans seem to have the need to change others into less than human in order to subjugate them economically, intellectually, or culturally. We might even think of the process of imperialism as practiced by the European powers as dehumanization of culture and society; begun at the micro level and then evolving into the macro. This dehumanization was particularly exemplified by the manner in which indigenous cultures were decimated, how families were torn apart and scattered all over the Empire, and the manner in which the Colonials expected their values to be adopted by anyone and everyone.
Chinua Achene is one author who deals directly with this subject. Not only is the title of Achebe's Things Fall Apart appropriate for a study looking at the juxtaposition of historical trends on culture, it is spot on in terms of the issues that fall into place, reminiscent of the "Domino Effect" so feared during the early Cold War, when European culture meets a traditional African culture. In Things Fall Apart, dehumanization occurred as almost a disease -- a virus passed from the White man to the natives. Not only did the English regard the Africans as something other than human (they degrade their culture and religion); after some time, Western ideals changed the way the Africans viewed themselves and their tribal unit. In Things Fall Apart, the central character, Okonkwo, finds that the interference of the missionaries and English "entrepreuers" disrputed the tribes. "The white man is very clever. He came quietly and peaceably with his religion. We were amused at his foolishness and allowed him to stay. Now he has won our brothers, and our clan can no longer act like one. He has put a knife on the things that held us together and we have fallen apart" Achebe., Chapter 20).
In Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness, written at the end of the 19th century while Britain was…… [Read More]
There is a direct correlation with, say, Henry Hill's cocaine abuse and the increasingly rapid cuts between shots. Faster-paced narrative parallels quicker-moving shots. When viewers finally see the film in the theater, the finished product reads like a cohesive narrative when in fact the filmmakers strung together disparate shots and cuts and combined them later after thousands of hours of painstaking labor. Analyzing a movie must therefore include respect for the editorial prowess of the post-production crew.
Editors must be intimately familiar with the screenplay they work with, especially in films that do not have a linear narrative. For instance, Christopher Nolan's 2000 film Memento describes one man's struggle with memory degradation. Relying on a non-linear plot, the filmmaker depended on the post-production crew to adequately convey the disjointedness of amnesia. Other elements like dramatic irony, in which the audience is privy to information that protagonists do not have access to, are crucial in filmmaking. Such literary elements require not just a well-constructed screenplay but also an editing crew that understands the director's vision.
One of the most important aspects of film analysis is political and social context. While many films do not attempt to convey any deeper meaning and only seek to entertain, others offer the viewer a depth of experience. In the same way a great novel reverberates in the public consciousness, so too does a powerful film leave an indelible memory.
Rentschler & Kaes (nd) point out the importance of social and historical background: the "economic and political factors that conditioned" the making of a movie. While this may seem like over-analyzing a film, for some movies such historical context may be crucial. For instance, documentarians like Michael Moore rely on kairos, releasing films at opportune moments to create political awareness and galvanize activism. The rhetorical tools used by Moore and other politically-minded documentarians can be analyzed in their own right. For instance, Moore presents one-sided arguments and yet his films also aim for an emotional more than a cerebral impact. Moore's movies can also be considered as quintessentially American because of the way the arguments are packaged…… [Read More]
Yet, we also see that he still does not understand the true origin of the beast -- the human within. The fact that he dies before he is successful, yet the monster obviously goes off to end his own fate, indicates that the evil both originated, and eventually died with him -- the true source from which it sprang.
Victor Hugo's Hunchback: An Illustrative Device
In Victor Hugo's Hunchback of Notre Dame, there exists a strikingly similar theme -- if different in form. Although it is definitely true that Hugo's famous Quasimodo is a bit more innocuous than the Frankenstein monster, he nonetheless evokes a certain horror if only in appearance. Yet, much like in Shelley's work, Hugo brings out the monster that is human nature within the other character's interactions, motivations, and actions in the story.
There is little question that Hugo fully intended Quasimodo to evoke horror in his readers. He creates Quasimodo as a grotesquely deformed, almost non-verbal, and deaf. Interestingly, Hugo assigns the character a friend, if not a creator as in Frankenstein, but as a protector -- one who supposedly has the best interests of the monster at heart. This friend, Dom Claude Frollo, ironically on some levels represents the "best" of humanity as is exemplified by his devotion to the Church and a life of God. However, the reader soon sees the irony, as well as the inherent evil of the human heart not in the monster, but in the supposedly "good" human man. This, the reader sees most clearly in the following passage, perhaps one of the most striking in the novel, when Frollo, a supposed beacon of hope and mercy, passes by Quasimodo being tortured by a terrible mob:
Nevertheless, that cloud cleared away for a moment, at the passage of a mule which traversed the crowd, bearing a priest. As far away as he could see that mule and that priest, the poor victim's visage grew gentler. The fury which had contracted it was followed by a strange smile full of ineffable…… [Read More]