RSS

Category Archives: Heart of Darkness

Agreed

Book Face PlantSince Mrs. Dalloway is likely to hang out at the bottom of my WEM list next to Heart of Darkness for some time it’s fitting that they share the following literary connection.

After receiving directions from a very distracted and agitated Rezia, the new-to-town Maisie Johnson thought the following:

Oh! . . . Horror!  Horror!

Advertisements
 

Tags: , , ,

Not to Bum You Out

I’m so tired of all these women dying.  I’ve nearly lost track of them, first it was Helen, then Emma, Alyona and Lizaveta, Anna, Eustacia, and now Lily. Why?  Why must we read so much tragedy?  Why the death?  What’s wrong with a happy ending once in a while?

Then I stumbled across this article in my facebook newsfeed.  Friends, it’s worth the read (it even mentions three of our authors.)  The subject is tragedy.  The context is Christian worship.  The backdrop is our life.

If you only click on one external link today, I encourage you to choose the one above.  You can even leave the arguments about worship behind, but I’d love to know what you think about the tragedy vs. entertainment question.

Is our WEM reading list reminding you that we live in the valley of the shadow of death?  Is it drawing you face to face with the world of iniquity from which we would rather shield our minds?  Are the authors and their sin-filled worlds making you cling firmly to the Author of creation?  Is the despair of the characters wakening a vision of the evil that surrounds us outside the pages of fiction?  Or, are the novels a source of pacification and escapism?  Are the classics entertaining?  Should the classics be entertaining?

 

Tags: , , , , ,

The Fastest 300 Years EVER!

Sancho and the donkey.  Christian.  Yahoos and Houyhnhnms.  Elizabeth and Darcy.  Oliver.   Bertha-in-the-attic.  Hester and Pearl.   Moby Dick.   Uncles and Madams.  Rascal.   Anna-Kitty-Levin-Vronsky-oviches.   The Heath.   Isabel.   Huckleberry.   The Journeys of Henry and Marlowe.   And now Lily, whose outcome, at least for me, is still uncertain.

While paging through the Well-Educated Mind list of fiction books, I realized that Don Quixote was published in 1605 and House of Mirth in 1905.   300 years!  I congratulate myself and you, fellow readers, on plowing through 300 years of literature.   May the crop be plentiful!  I suggest a glass of red wine and some good chocolate to celebrate.

 

 

Apocalypse Now, and Later, and Later

202 minutes

That’s the length of Apocalypse Now Redux, apparently the extra scenes in this 2001 definitive version of Francis Ford Coppola’s 1979 movie put it over the top.  But it’s not the length that’s the shocker, it’s my final analysis that my send you into a tailspin.  Brace yourself.

If you have to decide between reading The Heart of Darkness and watching Apocalypse Now, pop in the DVD.

No joke.  Recommending a movie over it’s written source of inspiration is new to me, but I have some rationale to calm your worried countenance.

  • Conrad’s purpose in telling this story was to depict the darkness of human existence.  He does, but Francis Ford Coppola does so even more.
  • The colors, lights, shadows, and fog of the cinematography are far more striking than those in my mental images of Marlow’s journey.  Had I ever done drugs I probably would have been better suited to picture these things on my own.
  • The soundtrack is equally creepy and haunting in a very 1979 way.
  • AN is no more confusing than HoD.  I won’t say it’s less, but definitely not more.
  • The movie is brutal.  Bru. Tal.  And I think that’s what Conrad was going for.
  • You can knit while watching the movie.  Oh wait!  I can do that while reading the book, too!
  • Ruth is absolutely right, Martin Sheen, Robert Duvall, Dennis Hopper, and Marlon Brando are really great.  If by great you mean superbly creepy, and I do.
  • The heads aren’t shrunken, they are full-sized.  Full-sized, yet still bodiless.
  • Knowing and experiencing the origin of the phrase “I love the smell of napalm in the morning.” will boost your chances of doing well on the obligate pop-culture category on Jeopardy.
  • And because it deserves to be said one more time: the book was horrible, but the movie is worse.  Even Joseph Conrad would have wanted you to watch it instead.

And last, but not least:

  • Despite The Heart of Darkness’s small pagination it will probably still take you more than 202 minutes to read it, so instead grab the 153 minute original version of Apocalypse Now and exterminate the brute as quickly as possible.  Oh, the horror.
 
1 Comment

Posted by on April 24, 2013 in Heart of Darkness

 

Tags: , , ,

Re-titling

My new title for Heart of DarknessHeart of Darkness.1

What’s the moral, Marlow?  Marlow, the storyteller, is simultaneously appalled and understanding of Kurtz’s brutality against the people of the Congo.

I confess; I may have been a little grouchy at the time.  Heart of Darkness wasn’t my favorite book, and based on your responses at our last hebdomadal check-in, it wasn’t your favorite either.

Why?  Was it too short?  Was it too hard to keep track of things?   All that inner, outer, central station stuff and the nameless characters.

Christina speculated that Conrad had more to the story in his head that he just forgot to write down on paper.

I kept reading, hoping something to happen.  It was a lot of build up for nothing much.  Maybe I’ve watched too many episodes of Criminal Minds.  I waited and waited for the gory, disturbing scene that would show how Kurtz was getting all that ivory: proof of his Heart of Darkness.  All I got was a brief threat of natives and a dying, crazy man.

It was definitely not my favorite novel.

Why wasn’t Heart of Darkness your favorite WEM classic?

 
1 Comment

Posted by on April 19, 2013 in Heart of Darkness

 

Tags: , ,

Pestilence

Heart of Darkness
Part II

Marlow is resting on the deck of his steamboat.  He gets to listen in on a conversation between the manager and his uncle.

Has anyone else noticed that Conrad is not keen on naming minor characters?

It was in this section that I noticed Conrad use variations of a word.

In speaking of a different wandering trader, the manager says,

“No one, as far as I know, unless a species of wandering trader–a pestilential fellow, snapping ivory from the natives,”

Pestilential?  as in relating to pestilence?  My kindle dictionary told me that the word means “harmful or destructive to crops or livestock”, but I liked dictionary.com’s definitions better.

3. pernicious; harmful.
4. annoyingly troublesome.

Ah, so this other trader is annoyingly troublesome, is he?  The two men decide to get the trader hung.  No one will question the manager’s authority.  Whoa.  Seems like we have a pestilential club.

These two really are a fan of pestilence.  Only a few sentences later, they use the word pestiferous to describe Kurtz’s plans for the trading stations.

“The fat man sighed.  ‘Very sad.’ ‘ and the pestiferous absurdity of his talk,’ continued the other; ‘ he bothered me enough when he was here.  “each station should be like a beacon on the road towards better things, a centre for trade of course, but also for humanizing, improving, instructing.”

The men end their conversation hoping that the Congo itself will take care of Kurtz.  So many other have died from illness or “other reasons”, maybe he will too.

The wandering trader is an annoying gnat-to-be-squashed and Kurtz’s plans for the trading posts are bothersome mosquitos?

pestiferous: 1. bringing or bearing disease. 2. pestilential  3. pernicious; evil.

Pestilence is more than a few bugs.
Pestilence is an epidemic, a plague.
It’s deadly and wide-spread.
In in the case of Heart of Darkness, it is evil.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on April 17, 2013 in Heart of Darkness

 

Tags: , , , ,

H-E-A-R-T O-F D-A-R-K-N-E-S-S

One year ago, close to our one year blog-iversary, I wrote this post.  It was fun.   Too much fun.   This year, my friends and I decided to get together with our beloved husbands and have a friendly Scrabble competition in honor of National Scrabble Day (April 13th).   I’ll leave you to guess which husband/wife team came out victorious.    When we were finished with the normal game, we created this:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

We ran out of “R’s,” (Oh, the horror!), but had fun anyway.   Wish you could have joined us!

Sincerely,

J-E-A-N-N-E-T-T-E, C-H-R-I-S-T-I-N-A, and C-H-A-M-P-I-O-N

 
2 Comments

Posted by on April 16, 2013 in Heart of Darkness, The Blog

 

Tags: