Sunday, 22 March 2009

Heart Of Darkness, by Joseph Conrad

I am very very torn about this one, I don't have the vaguest idea whether or not I should like it. Basically because it's all basic speculation when there are important questions concerned.
It's being told like a boxed story, a narrator telling of Marlow, who begins, in turn, to tell his story; Marlow visiting Africa for a certain Company.

It seems to be written very carefully, ever word weighed in utmost precision. Sometimes, I felt it was almost forced, like poetry, into something that had to be "perfect". I'm not sure whether I'm pointing this out in the positive or the negative sense, for although I thought some of the phrases sounded absolutely beautiful, most of the reading proved pretty tiresome.

The whole book is full of the effects of colonization, not only on those colonized, but the colonizers as well. It addresses hypocrisy, misogyny, power, instincts, at face value, very critically. It seems like Marlow condemns it all, but looking closer, he keeps, time and time again, justifying it all. He himself, in my opinion, is the biggest hypocrite of them all, seeing as he is satirical of not only colonization and hypocrisy but also nepotism, yet he gets his job because his aunt knows someone who knows someone else who... etc, who got him the job to begin with. He finds it odd that people should think of the Africans as anything but humans, yet time and time again talks about them himself as objects, or masses of "shapes". Faceless beings, without character, without personality. It's only the white men that he cares to describe in closer detail.

I'm still not sure as to why some of the things Conrad mentions are mentioned at all, but he seems to be ridiculing society at large with it. The fact that he got the job before the person who held the job before him was killed in a dispute about two chickens is one example.
The pointless way a man is trying to put out the fire with a bucket that has a hole in it, and the way the doctor measures the skulls of his patients, even though he himself admits that it is the internal "psyche" he is interested in, yet more futilely so because he adds that he wants to see the changes that happen, yet none of his patients return to him after (or if) they come back.
Or that Kurtz, meaning short in German, is quite a ridiculous name for someone so tall.
Marlow seems to ridicule everyone and everything, except, that is, for Kurtz, and his Intended.

Whether he justifies them or not, at least Conrad points out all these flaws.
And that is something.

The Gypsy.

No comments:

Post a Comment