Modernist Narrative - Feb 7.odt

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17 Apr 2012
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February 7, 2012
Modernist Narrative
Willa Cather = focus on introduction, read both versions (1919 & 1926)
Heart of Darkness and Representation of Race
Use of the word “nigger” - very apparent, used by characters
Be aware of the power of words
Poem called “Incident” by Countee Cullen
Word “nigger” works to ruin one's experience of a city
Marlow and narrator are different
Marlow is a homodiagetic narrator
Multi-layered perspectives help produce irony (27)
Each provide different angles of vision
Epistemological uncertainty
The ways of knowing are uncertain
Discussion of Canibals
(41+42) – Marlow starts discussing cannibals
What's Marlow's ethical position towards these cannibals
What's significant about the way he represents these canibals
By repeating words “restraint” - he is suggesting something internally human – is it a positive
description? Not really, he keeps speaking of them as if they're animals.
An effort is being made to dehumanize
Tone of surprise/aweMarlow is surprised at his own observations
Idea of he himself is appetizing – attempt to understand what they're really thinking – seeing
them as conscious individuals
Fear of unknown = rhetoric of fear and rhetorics of awe.
His phsyical description of them = no longer glossy, don't have capacity for intelligence but
they are strong – bodily descriptions
One of the rhetorical arguements
The Noble Savage: falls into a tradition of primitivism – uncivilized pple are almost
viewed as having an advantage and being driven by instinct rather than intelligence. But
this creates a huge disparity between civilized and uncivilized and it treats pple as bodies
without minds
The word restraint
Physical restraint: savaged restrain themselves from eating white pilgrims
Cognitive restraint: intellectual/rational
Ambivalence in this passage – storytelling is negotiation – various understandings of the
world are in conflict with each other.
Helmsman
Congo native who pilots the boat for Marlow
(45) Described as animalistic, unintelligent, “fool
Described in terms of instinct, lacks motor skills
Doesn't have much control
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