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Heart of Darkenss
Heart of Darkness Critique Critique Period 2
One said once, of Heart of Darkness, that “this amazing tale that was not so much told as suggested to me in desolate exclamations, completed in shrugs, in interrupted phrases, in hints ending in deep sighs.” This effect was created by the illusions Conrad made through use of diction, style, and narrative structure. A novel critique has a quite complicated task in his analysis of a novel. He is to shed light into the dark corners of the work where the tools used to build the novel are to be found. The Heart of Darkness is an extremely good example of a well-built novel. A well-built novel is only possible with good tools. The articles of critique, numbers 4, 10, 6, 7, 9, and 11, are effective models of critiques, which illuminate the deepest crevices of a novel; in order to discover the tools so eloquently used, such as diction, style, and narrative structure.
Critique #4, written by Walter J. Ong on “The Ending of The Heart of Darkness” was effective in highlighting some of Conrad’s inventions through diction. For instance, he speaks of how Conrad uses the word “voice” so frequently throughout the novel. He states that, “Heart of Darkness consists of a web of voices, of cries and responses, often explicitly called to the reader’s attention to establish multi-layered involvement and mystery.” This statement offers a great deal of truth. His reference to Kurtz as “the voice” provides a great deal of mystery. The whole concept of voice is extremely important in this novel. Voice describes narration, which is a prominent tool occupied throughout the story, as narration shifts and becomes altered. In this critique, the author provides many quotes which both describe how effective “voice” can be in adding to the mystery of the story, and symbolically represent narration, or further: the soul. This essay also points out the irony of Kurtz’s last words; especially in reference to what “the Intended” had predicted them to be.
Critique #10 is a good source of more information about the narration and narrative structure of Heart of Darkness, which is an extremely large element thereof. It accurately assumes that “language as a system of communication and transmission, as the medium of official biographies and readable reports, has no place for the unspeakable; it is used rather to cover up the unnamable, to reweave the seamless web of signification.” He also shows the complications of the narration as he explains that the “substitutability of names… marks the notable alterability of stories”. Also by stating that Marlow “is not simply a teller of tales, but a reteller” he shows the unique “narrative plot” created by Conrad. With a quote he also effectively describes the rare construction of the story. He states that “the structure of “framed narration” used in Heart of Darkness will not in this instance give a neat pattern of nested boxes, bracketed core structures, nuts within shells.” The author of this critique urges the reader “to read Heart of Darkness as a narration even more than as a narrative or a story.” He mostly likely suggests this because his belief that “meaning must reside in the relation between the tale’s telling and its listening, in its reception, its transaction…”
Critique # 9 is also written to illuminate the way Conrad uses narrative structure in the formation of his story. He underlines the oddity of “the way up [in the story] is the way back”, and how the narrative structure is “a kind of reverse phylogeny”. This form of narrative is rare. The critique moves on to say that the “story line of the journey comes to be doubled by the more specifically goal oriented plot line of the inquest”. “ So it is that Marlow’s inquest, in the manner of the detective’s, becomes the retracing of the track of a precursor.” The author of this critique also precisely points out how, “In Marlow’s narrative, we witness the formation of motivation in the middle of the journey.” This insight to structure of narration is quite helpful to the reader.
Critique #6 is effective in demonstrating how Conrad effectively used style to accomplish his task. As to the style of the story he explains that “the intent is
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Fiction, Narratology, Style, Point of view, Plot, Heart of Darkness, Narration, Charles Marlow, Frame story, Narrative, Kurtz
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