Hart of Darkness
Vocabulary lessons :
lessons 1, 2 et 3
lessons 4, 5 et 6
lessons 7, 8 et 9
lessons 10, 11 et 12
Hart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad
I) Book 1 : Part 1
I) Book 1 : Part 1.
The novel begins with the description of the light over the Thames in
contrast with the gleam over London. The first narrator describes and
meditates on past consequences and talks about the dark ages when the
Romans invaded. He insists that although Romans where mere robbers in
contrast with modern colonizers blinded by the idea of "Bringing light".
A dead silence prevails in the vicinity of this headquarters of the colonial
enterprise. Marlow is interviewed by the director and he is disturbed
by the presence of two women knitting black wool.. The contact with the
doctor reminds us of the hypocrisy and deadliness of the mission.
The intro to the novella, presented in the first episode shows the contrast
between light and darkness which can also reflects man's enterprise.
Light : civilization, "enlightenment", knowledge
Darkness : wilderness, ignorance, evil.
We may think Conrad believes in these imperialist ideas but he overturns
it. Entire colonial enterprises are violent people, people are robing
countries and he proves to us that the enlightens were agents of darkness.
The journey to the inner station is paralleled by Marlow's progressive
discovery of the darkness of his soul, his life as a "horror".
The fact that Conrad makes constant reference to the men of Africa as
"pilgrims" is ironic as this is a typical westerner prejudice.
Darkness gets murkier as the ship approaches the inner station. The reader
is thrust into an obscure and barbaric past, into an atmosphere devoid
of all trappings of our civilization that gives us comfort.