Heart of Darkness

Selena, Hunter, Dejah, Chelsea, & Nick

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Changes in Leah by Hunter McCain

Life can bend a persons personality to the point where they change in character. Tough times causes tough choices that take a toll on people’s lives. There are many characters in this book that experience changes in their life. Obviously, with the big environment change, there were going to be differences. In The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver, the character Leah’s view on her father and her religion is altered throughout the book.

At the beginning of the novel, Leah is devoted to her father. She believes he can make his way out of the darkness even when no one else can. She wanted to live and grow up so in a way that would please Nathan. “Some people might find him overly stern and frightening, bit that is only because he was gifted with such keen judgement and purity of heart… I know that someday… I will have his wholehearted approval.” As the novels wears on, she goes against her father. Leah knew how to make her father mad; she wore an owl on her shoulder and walked around the house for this reason. He did not like this because it showed pride from her. Leah strays away from her father as it gets deeper and deeper into the novel. The reader can see the sense of shift from her father to Anatole, the school teacher, as well.

Just as her faith in her father changed to Anatole, her beliefs changed from Christianity to independence and justice. At the start of the book, Leah thought of her self higher than anyone else because of her faith in God. “I vowed to work hard for his devotion to turning the soil for God’s glory.” Leah’s faith weathered throughout the novel until the end point when she said, “I felt the breath of God go cold on my skin.” The change of mind and belief falls back on her father. She sees how selfish and mean her father acts and, since he is a christian, does not want to be like him.

Leah’s character in The Poisonwood Bible, by Barbara Kingsolver changes her view on her father and her religion. She really does not change as a person, though. She still holds a relationship with a man, Anatole, and still believes in something, Africa. The changes come from what it is she believes in and who she believes in. Joan Didion said, “Life changes in the instant. The ordinary instant.
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Marlow's Journey by Nick Cohill

In the Novel Heart of Darkness critics pronounce this as a mythic journey that Marlow takes that ultimately leads to self-realization. I agree with this statement, Marlow a sailor that has set out to journey upon the Congo River. Upon his journey he finds himself and more, he journeys for time before the ship breaks down . While the ship if broken and he waiting to receive the parts to necessary to repair it. He obtains a progressing interest in Kurt’s who has bestowed a type of fear into the manager and the brick’s maker whom have a fear of him taking his position. Soon the ship is fixed and Marlow once again set voyage with a few of the pilgrims. As the journey they come upon firewood that is said to be their but as they are gathering it they are attacked and one of them killed by natives that Marlow scares away with a whistle. They journey and meet a Russian who has claims of being enlightened by Kurtz and notifies them that he was the one who left them the wood. When Marlow finally arrives at kurtz they discover that he is very ill as he is brought to them on a stretcher carried by natives that adore him. The manager boards Kurtz on the ship and around this time the Russian reveals that Kurtz was the one who ordered the attack on the ship because he wanted them to presume that he was dead. Kurtz health failing he reveals to Marlow a packet of documents and one of the documents contained his plans to civilize the natives. As the Ship breaks down and it takes time to repair Kurtz dies with the last words of “The Horror”. Marlow grows sick as well and barely escapes the same fate. Marlow arrives back a Europe and goes to visit Kurtz said wife who has praised him and thought so highly of him, asks what were his last words but Marlow who doesn't want to cause her anymore man and destroy her imagine of him tells her that his last words were her name.


I believe that from this journey he has increased his personal attributes such as courage, compassion and determination. Not any ordinary can handle these events as he did and his determination and curiosity fueled is adventure and his compassion to heed Kurtz wife’s suffering heart.

Leah's Metamorphosis by Selena Reed

Leah Price goes through a metamorphosis throughout the first five books of The Poisonwood Bible. Living in the congo for a few months changes her from the perfect little Daddy’s girl into an idealistic warrior with passion. The congo changes Leah by breaking that trust that she had with her father and uses that trust for her own ideals about family, religion, and the congo.

In the beginning of the novel, Leah bends over backwards trying to impress her father with the thing he loves best: scripture. She pores over the bible and waits anxiously for his questions and treats them as an important test. Her belief in God is strong, however the only reason for it’s strength is to impress her father. All her actions and mental thoughts are geared toward pleasing Nathan. This trust in Nathan is first shaken in the garden, when his stubbornness and pride causes failure in their harvest. Seeing Nathan so vulnerable causes Leah’s trust in him to shake.

In the novel, when Leah accompanies her father to Leopoldville to see the Congolese inauguration service. Seeing the Congolese celebrate their leader changes Leah because she sees how important this is when democracy and voting are not a freedom. When they go to the Underdowns for dinner, they live in beautiful neighborhood in a white house with china, plenty of food, and electricity. This is where Leah notices the racism that is present when the whites live in suburban neighborhoods and just down the road, the Congolese are struggling to feed themselves. This pricks her heart and foreshadows how her views will change in a short time.

Leah also changes because she starts to get involved with nature. She starts to practice with a bow and arrow and becomes quite good. She finds a pet owl. The pet owl incident is also a huge change for Leah. Apparently, Owl’s represent an animal that steals the soul from the dead. The Congolese are afraid of it and urge Leah to release it. This anger’s Nathan because he’s getting fed up with the superstitions of the Congolese and forbids Leah to do such thing. So Leah wears the owl proudly and then angers Nathan beyond belief because he thinks Leah’s pride is disgusting. He gets violent and mean and tells Leah to put the owl back in the woods. She defies her father here by staying out forever letting the owl go. He paces in the house and waits to punish her when she gets back. She comes back hours later through the window and avoids her father.

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The True Heart of Darkness by Chelsea Mowery

In Joseph Conrad’s novella “Heart of Darkness”, he characterizes Marlow’s journey through discovery. This includes self transformation, recognition of Kurtz’s true character, and the discovery of the heart of darkness.

Marlow’s journey begins as he is a seaman in London. Through the progression of the novel, Marlow begins to focus more on the more common human characteristics which includes lying and sparing the feelings of those surrounding, emotionally connected or not. The audience is presented with a few instances of misrepresentation of information. One of these instances occurred when he was conversing with a bricklayer. He then convinced the bricklayer he was influential. “Temperament, I suppose. Well, I went near enough to it by letting the young fool there believe anything he liked to imagine as to my influence in Europe.” (Chapter 1). Marlow’s most evident moment of transformation occurs when he lies to Kurtz’s “intended”. This was the most surprising action made by Marlow because he shares his views on lying. "You know I hate, detest, and can't bear a lie, not because I am straighter than the rest of us, but simply because it appalls me.” (Chapter 1). Marlow also lied to Kurtz’s “intended”. This was in an attempt to spare her feelings and thoughts toward her late fiance. "'The last word he pronounced was -- your name.” (Chapter 3). Once he began his sequence of lies he became an equal to his surroundings. “I became in an instant as much of a pretence as the rest of the bewitched pilgrims.” (Chapter 1).

Initially Kurtz is introduced to Marlow as a well respected man, it was later revealed that this “respect” was godly. The natives looked to Kurtz as their God. His character could be deemed as a bit selfish. Marlow makes the observation that he claims things in his possession, things such as: “my intended” (in reference to his fiance), “my river”, “my ivory”, and “my station”. Marlow is lead to form his own unclear opinion of Kurtz. He knows very well that Kurtz is bad person, but he still shows a sense of admiration and fear towards him. Even Kurtz’s “intended” greatly admired him as well, whether it be because she had no idea of his monstrous and evil ways, or she loved him despite of. “Don't you understand I loved him -- I loved him -- I loved him!” (Chapter 3).

Conrad used Marlow’s journey to reveal the discovery of the heart of darkness. It was not a physical discover, but it was mental and emotional. The heart of darkness was found in the jungle, Kurtz, the natives, as well as within Marlow. The jungle was no place for the weak at mind or at heart. Through Kurtz rage and brutal demand for his precious ivory, his inner darkness is revealed. The cannibalistic ways of the natives are more than enough evidence to prove a sense of darkness within them. The discovery of Marlow’s heart of darkness was a process. It was not until he began his sequence of lies when his heart of darkness was revealed. Not only did he lie, but he was fully aware that doing so was wrong.

Joseph Conrad’s novella “Heart of Darkness” characterizes Marlow’s journey through self transformation, recognition of Kurtz’s true character, and the discovery of the heart of darkness.


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Inhumanity by Dejah Brown

The inhumanity of man done by man throughout our society’s history has been known to shape and define our society through different periods of time. Events that are in occurrence and have been in occurrence such as, murders of African Americans during civil rights period, wars, and even dating back to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ has played a major role in the topic inhumanity to man. In the Heart of Darkness, throughout the novel, we are shown numerous examples of the major theme of natures man.

When in the congo, Marlow gets a taste first hand of the inhumane actions done to the natives. “They were dying slowly--it was very clear. They were not enemies, they were not criminals, they were nothing earthly now--nothing but black shadows of disease and starvation, lying confusedly in the greenish gloom.”(pg. 20). Marlow saw the slaves chained together. He described the Africans as greenish gloom implying the sickness and disease that was coming over their bodies. Marlow was able to see the inhumane treatment of the slaves.

Marlow in the novel explains a little about the Romans. He goes on to say, “They were conquerors and for that you want only brute force--nothing to boast of , when you have it, since your strength is just an accident arising from the weakness of others” (pg. 12). Marlow realized the truth of the colonization and its brutality. The Romans were described by him in a means that their success was only brought on by the failure of the savages. Marlow considers the conquest of the world as a means of “taking it away from those who have a different complexion or slightly flatter noses”.

In the book it says that the admirer of Kurtz was crestfallen. Kurtz had no fear of the natives and they would not stir till kurtz gave the word. The darkness overcoming Kurtz put the natives in a bad situation. “Curious, this feeling that came over me that such details would be more intolerable than those heads drying on the stakes under Mr. Kurtz’s window”(pg. 56). Kurtz dried the heads of the natives he killed for not following the orders he put in place. Kurtz oppressed the natives to be seen as a dominant over them.

A monstrous passion alone convinced Marlow that the darkness had driven Kurtz out to the edge. This alone had “beguiled his unlawful soul beyond the bounds of permitted aspirations”. “My intended, my ivory, my station, my river, my--everything belonged to him.” (pg 48). Kurtz was indulging in an unearthly matter, a “conquered monster”. Marlow states, But his soul was mad. Being alone in the wilderness , it had looked within itself, and by heavens! I tell you , it had gone mad.” The darkness at this point can be seen figuratively as “man” itself as it takes over Kurtz and overpowers him as man’s inhumanity to man. Kurtz struggled with himself and Marlow observed this, for Kurtz soul, had no restraint.

A songwriter once wrote “the dangers come when fantasy replaces your reality, simply because it all sounds nice. But soon enough humanity comes into the picture and thats when we have to fetish real life. Kurtz desire for power and the riches of ivory struck him with darkness. Once reality came back he had to fetish what he had become and for him it was too late. “It was unearthly, and the men were.” The Heart of Darkness displayed many examples of society’s inhumanity to man and in conclusion it has its consequences.


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