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Saturday, March 30

  1. page Heart of Darkness by S. Oda edited Autopsy: Autopsy: Heart of Darkness by Darknessby Shohsei Oda About the Author Joseph…

    Autopsy:

    Autopsy:
    Heart of Darkness
    by
    Darknessby Shohsei Oda
    About the Author
    Joseph Conrad (born Józef Teodor Konrad Korzeniowski), a world-renowned English author, was born on the third day of the December of 1857 to a poverty-stricken Polish couple in Ukraine. As a child Conrad had to live with his parents in exile, and by the time he was eleven, both his father and mother had died. He was then looked after by his uncle until he turned 16, when he travelled to Marseilles, France to become a seaman.
    {http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/1/13/Joseph_Conrad.jpg/200px-Joseph_Conrad.jpg}
    In 1878, Conrad got his first job on an English ship. Soon after the ship returned to England, he signed up for a voyage on a coaster from Lowestoft to Newcastle: a trip that would act as a platform for him to learn English, the language in which he would write his novels later in life. The fact that Conrad is considered one of the “greatest novelists in the English language” is incredible considering that he only started learning English even after his teenage years.
    Receiving his Master Mariner’s certificate and British citizenship in 1886, Conrad anglicized his name to Joseph Conrad, the name under which he would become such a well-known and respected author. However, it was another eight years (in 1894) until he retired from the sea and started his literary career. Indeed, Conrad’s experiences from his life at sea were often reflected in his novels: The Nigger of the Narcissus was inspired by his voyage on the Narcissus in Bombay and Heart of Darkness was greatly influenced by his experience on a Congo steamboat.
    Although at first some of Conrad’s writing showed hints of romanticism, the author is remembered for being a significant influence in the genre of modernism: the man had developed a pessimistic world view after witnessing certain weaknesses of the human condition during his life at sea. Evident in several of his works is a moral voice, pleading with the reader to sea the wicked truths of the world. Conrad was known to suffer from depression and self-doubt, the result of losing belief in the strength of mankind. Isolation and corruption were what Conrad had the most to say about, as they were what he felt and saw on his trips as a sailor.
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    The Secret Agent andAgentand Under Western
    A Brief Summary
    Heart of Darkness is the story of Christopher Marlow, a young sailor who ambitiously joins a Belgian trading company so that he can satisfy a desire to travel to the Congo. From the time he signs up to work for the Company, however, Marlow feels as if something is amiss. Throughout his trip to and in Africa, Marlow witnesses the endless mistreatment of natives by the agents of the Company, which he realizes is consumed by greed. Indeed, those working for the Company in Africa, far away from the familiar comforts of their homeland, have become somewhat deranged and are obsessed with finding ivory.
    ...
    The message I received from the novel, however, is not just that imperialism is pointless for the advancement of humankind, but that it also has numerous consequences. During his travels, Marlow encounters a young, starving native with a “bit of white worsted round his neck.” Marlow wonders, “Why? Where did he get it? Was it a badge - an ornament - a charm - a propitiatory act? Was there any idea at all connected with it?” Conrad, through Marlow, is blatantly asking the reader to open his eyes to the symbolic meaning of the “bit of white thread from beyond the seas”: a noose of white men strangling the black people of Africa.
    {http://www.bcps.org/offices/lis/models/imperial/images/imperialism.gif}
    ...
    of money.
    What makes Heart of Darkness more than just sympathy for the imperialized is Conrad including a portrayal of the imperialists as well. The author describes “bewitched” Company agents: wherever they go, the “word ‘ivory’ [rings] in the air, [is] whispered, [is] sighed. You would think they were praying to it.” By painting the agents as zombie-like beings driven by greed, Conrad makes imperialism seem unattractive, and I believe that is what makes this book relevant even today. Instead of only describing the terrible effects, it also acts as a warning.
    The biggest warning is the character of Kurtz, who Marlow spends one third of the novel traveling to meet. Marlow hears rumors that Kurtz, a fellow Company man, is almost unbelievably productive, and Marlow wants to know the secret behind his success. When Marlow does finally meet Kurtz, he realizes that the success was only made possible by means of extreme violence. Conrad’s description of Kurtz as a man corrupted by greed who will even murder if necessary is actually Conrad’s reflection of the imperialistic West.
    ...
    Heart of Darkness easily reflects the time-period in which it was written because a large portion is autobiographical: Conrad wrote the novel based on his own six-month voyage on the Congo River. In 1890, only nine years before Heart of Darkness was first published, Conrad had to take command of a steamboat on the Congo because its captain had died. This experience provided the author with plenty of real life experience to draw inspiration from.
    The Congo Free State was at that time run by the Anglo-Belgian India-Rubber Company, which had been empowered by the Belgian King Leopold II. This real life company is represented in Heart of Darkness simply as the Company, a greed-infested “trade” organization. Much of the Company’s mistreatment of natives is based on reality. Leopold II declared the Congo Free State his private property in 1892, allowing the Belgian traders to take all of the rubber they wanted without having to trade with the native Africans. This freedom led to terrible acts of violence committed by the Belgian traders, but when the rest of the West realized what was happening (thanks partly to Heart of Darkness raising awareness), the Congo Free State was taken out of the king’s private property. So, not only did Heart of Darkness reflect its times, it also helped shape them.
    Connection Corner
    Star Wars: A New Hope
    ...
    Heart of Darkness. CheckDarkness.Check it out
    {http://imagecache2.allposters.com/images/pic/CUP/G829-310~Star-Wars-Trilogy-A-New-Hope-Posters.jpg}
    Cast Away
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    A super-sweet bonus video about technology:
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Wednesday, August 22

Friday, January 16

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Thursday, January 15

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Tuesday, January 13

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