Anglais :

Hart of Darkness
text analysis

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

A) Plot

B) Analysis

I) Book 1 : Part 1.

A) Plot

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.

B) Analysis

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.


Retour à l'index des cours

2002, Jel