Heart of Darkness
Conrad's themes embrace navigation, humanity and inspection
Descriptiveness, irony and imagery are also on board
The novel brings to light the "reverence and affection" (6)
Of an exalted character linked to the sea, but not a king or a lord
The novel also exposes the bigotry and bias of Marlow's kin
She wanted to "wean those millions from their horrid ways…" she said (9)
The aunt made Marlow "quite uncomfortable" -- her morality clearly wore thin
Later he saw"..black shapes crouched, lay, sat between the trees" all nearly dead
The sea, the darkness, the river and the mystery
The "foreign shores" and "foreign faces" that also "glide past" (9)
Fully illustrate the effectiveness of the novel's link to history
Because in this novel's time frame, colonialism was in its last gasp
Heart of Darkness explores endless days that seem more like night
It examines timeless concepts of good and evil -- and how to hide
From the evil action of slaughtering elephants for their tusks so white
And the hideousness of "jerking the spear out of his side…" (140)
Poor protagonist Marlowe, his boat kept maddeningly breaking
Meanwhile Kurtz, with his "savage...
In truth, my reasons for accepting this assignment are not easy to explain, but in essence I have never passed up an opportunity to escape solid ground in exchange for those never-ending rolling waves and the rhythm of the tides. Alas, though my aunt gave me her crusty, narrow-minded and biased opinion about the natives of that Dark Continent I was not the least perturbed or put off. Indeed I am sure had I ventured to speak to two dozen other lusty or older women so removed from the truth about colonialism and Africa they would have echoed my dear aunt's biases.
But let me first explain why I agreed to make this pilgrimage -- it goes deeper than just my bond with the sea. Yes, I was born in Russia, and when I turned seventeen I was already at sea enjoying everything about being a sailor. I loved the wild rides we had in storms, waves breaking and smashing upon the starboard side like claps of thunder on a vicious stormy night. I even enjoyed the calm ocean experiences during the twenty years I was learning seamanship aboard several different kinds of vessels.
My wandering, my pilgrimages, my love of the salt air were tested severely as I headed up the Congo River ("river Congo" as some called it). Though I am a man without a great deal of formal education, I do understand and admire souls from…
It would come slowly to one. They howled and leaped, and spun, and made horrid faces; but what thrilled you was just the thought of their humanity -- like yours -- the thought of your remote kinship with this wild and passionate uproar." (Conrad 105). This indicates a gradual shift of viewpoint from the Western, or civilized, to the uncivilized. In this, Marlow's viewpoint shift foreshadows his meeting with Kurtz.
Miller's Crossing gives the best example of the "ethics" of the crime film genre -- beginning as it does with the classic speech delivered by Giovanni Gasparo: "I'm talkin' about friendship -- I'm talkin' about character -- I'm talkin' about -- hell, Leo, I ain't embarrassed to use the word: I'm talkin' about ethics…" The film, of course, is full of characters whose actions are shady and unethical -- but