I. Heart of Darkness Text Theme: “A haze rested on the low shores that ran out to seanin vanishing flatness. The air was dark above Gravesend.” (pg.45) “Only the gloom to the west, brooding over the upper reaches, became more sombre every minute, as if angered by the approach of the sun.” (pg.46) Conflict: “- everything belonged to him – but that was a trifle. The thing was to know what he belonged to, how many powers of darkness claimed him for their own. That was the reflection that made you creepy all over.
It was impossible — it was not good for one either – trying to imagine. He had taken a high seat amongst the devils of the land – I mean literally.” (pg. 109) “I fretted and fumed and took to arguing with myself whether or no I would talk openly with Kurtz; but before I could come to any conclusion it occurred to me that my speech or my silence, indeed any action of mine, would be mere futility” (pg. 95) Mood/Tone: “It was not difficult his work was not out there in the luminous estuary, but behind, with the brooding gloom.” (pg.45) “Not the faintest sound of any kind could be heard. You looked on amazed, and began to suspect yourself of being deaf – then the night came suddenly, and struck you blind as well.
About three in the morning some large fish leaped, and the loud splash made me jump as though a gun had been fired. When the sun rose there was a white fog, very warm and clammy, and more blinding than the night. It did not shift or drive; it was just there, standing all around you like something solid.” (pg. 96) Literary Techniques: “She rang under my feet like an empty Huntley and Palmer biscuit tin kicked along a gutter; she was nothing sosolid in make, and rather less pretty in shape, but I had expended enough hard work on her to make me love her” (pg. 80) 2. “The offing was barred by a black bank of clouds…seemed to lead into the heart of an immense darkness” (pg. 149)
Comments Theme: Starting from the beginning of the novel, the theme of darkness and good vs. evil was evident. The novel is heavily filled with qoutes pertaining darkness and forboding, and Marlow’s constant struggle with trying not to be absorbed by Nature’s gloomness and obscurity. Conflict: The conflict within the story is based on Marlow’s uneasy yet giddy feeling of meeting Kurtz, a man he has yet to even meet. Marlow was enthused and amused by the stories he had been told by the fellow pilgrims of Kurtz’s dignity and silvertongue. Marlow wishes to meet this man so much that he had begun to be haunted by the thoughts, and he developed an addictive need to see Kurtz.
Mood/Tone: The theme of the novel was set and evident in the first chapter of the book. The book spoke in great length of the darkness that can sometimes overshadow a man and consume him. There was also a strong sense of fear driven into the book. Marlow spoke frequently of the fear he was enveloped in by the surrounding nature. I can’t blame him though, he was in unknown territory surrounded by cannibals and on-the-edge tribesmen.
Literary Techniques: Conrad uses a lot of imagery and symbolism in his novel. “The offing was barred by a black bank of clouds…seemed to lead into the heart of an immense darkness”. Here, Conrad refers to the darkness as having a negative feeling, the reader can then understand the story behind the title, Heart of Darkness, symbolizing the center of all things unwanted, which is exactly the place Marlow has ventured into.
II. The Things They Carried
1. There is a definite pattern within The Things They Carried. Each character carries something more than just themselves or there military gear. They carry with them their dreams, their memories, or thier gear. However, it turns out these things aren’t totally useful in war, especially in this one. It seems holding onto these things only hinder the soldiers and they are burdened by their own self- consciousness. O’ Brien was really trying to get the reader to understand the real truth about the war. That there’s no honor or glory, but bloody and full of gore. He intricicly weaves his stories to fully detail the memories of war, and the sad truth of it.
2. The third person stories differ from the first person stories in the way that the first story story are much more personal and allows for the reader (me) to really connect with the author. O’ Brien’s excellent imagery allows for the reader to fully realise the world and life that O’Brien lived. O’Brien uses the change in point of view to emphasize the disorder associated with war. This way the reader can see how chaotic and abrupt life in Vietnam was. Each person was different from the other; some were romantics, some distraught, and the rest were mostly were afraid.
3. O’ Brien may have placed these random stories in between the regular chronology of the novel to detail the disarray and confusion the war brought. Although not chronlogically placed, these stories essentially carry the same theme as the novel in the fact that war sucks. He shows how horrible it was for everybody. From Dave Jensen to Mitchell Sanders to Rat Kiley, even if some of these characters were not real. Each had their own experiences with the war, all gruesome, and some humorous. They and the others in the novel react to these event s in very different ways, from tears to anger and no emotion at all. In the last chapter, he uses the story with Linda to try and bring her back. He uses the novel to bring back all those who were lost, for however briefly. This is in relation to the rest of the novel which is more or less based on how others cope with the war, and the casualties that come with it.
4. A major theme in The Things They Carried is truth. Not the truth that one can believe, but the imppossible truth. The truth that one either does not want to hear or want accept. During the novel, O’Brien reveals that some of the main characters in the novel weren’t even real. As far from the truth as this was, O’Brien tells us that even though they were made up, there’s truth to their characters. The characters may not have been real, but their feelings and thoughts and opinions were definetely those that would be on the warfront. Although hard to tell what is true in this book, the feels where O’Brien is coming from, that this truth, even if it isn’t fully there, is better than the false hope and truth that is promoted and stood up for.
III. How to Read Literature Like a Professor Introduction: Understanding memory, symbol and pattern, can enhanced the literary work. Without comprehension of the literature, the reader won’t experience the true meaning of the story, henceforth missing out on the excitement of reading. Identifying with some of the symbols or patterns in a work of literature will make the reading easier and more enjoyable. Recognizing patterns in long storys can help you understand the story as a whole. One time of literature insight I experienced was while reading Fahrenheit 451.
Toward the end of the book, a phoenix is mentioned in correspondence to the burned down city. I realized the phoenix was a symbol for Montag’s “rebirth” within himself. Understanding this symbol put the book together and created a sense of enlightenment. Without my understanding and knowledge of the symbol, I wouldn’t have entirely grasped the meaning of the story.
Ch 1: The five aspects a quest consists of are: (1) a quester, (2) a place to go, (3) a stated reason to go there, (4) challenges and trials en route, and (5) a real reason to go there. Almost all literary works as well as movies follow these guidelines for a quest.The Lord of the Rings Series consists of these five aspects. (1) The quester is a hobbit named Frodo Baggins. (2) The place to go is Mount Doom. (3) The stated reason is to destroy the ring in Mount Doom. (4) The challenges Frodo must face include orcs as well as his own obsession with the ring. (5) Thetrue purpose, aside from destroying the ring, is for Frodo to form a strong with the rest of the fellowship of the ring. Frodo also must overcome his own inner demons and obsession with the ring. Frodo completes his original quest and saves everyone in Middle Earth, as well as forming a bond with the rest of the fellowship.
Ch 2: Taking food into your body can be considered a personal and sacred undertaking. Usually you want to do it with people you are comfortable with. Any meal that you see or read about represents sharing and peace.When a person eats with somebody they don’t trust usually the outcome is tragic. For example, in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Snow White eats an apple from an old hag who is really the evil queen. Snow White was ignorant of the old hag’s true motive and so of course, something bad happened.
The apple was poisonous and Snow White went into a deep sleep. She could only be awakened by her love’s first kiss. In the Bible, one of the most memorable and popular events that happened was the Last Supper. Jesus and his apostles had a dinner and Jesus gave his body and blood. This was a tremendously sacred event. A family has dinner together because it helps them bond even more so. Eating is a very personal act and when people eat in books or movies it usually symbolizes something more than just conquering a growling stomach.
Ch. 3: The essentials of a good vampire story doesn’t always include a figure with a black cape and fanged teeth. All a high-quality vampire story truly needs is an older figure representing corrupt values, a young female,a stripping away of her youth, the continuance of the life force of the old male, and finally the death or destruction of the young woman. We witness these vampire-like qualities all the time in literature, movies, and sometimes even real life situations whether aware of it or not. An example of a movie that displays these simple acts of vampirism is Forrest Gump. One of the main characters, Ginny, is sexually abused as a child by her drunken father. Ginny’s father has ripped away her youth by stealing her virginity and Ginny doesn’t know what to do or where to turn. Due to her father’s actions Ginny unconsciously fills the void with a drug and sex addiction, which ultimately leads her to her diagnosis of AIDS and eventually, her death.
Ch. 4: Just Read
Ch. 5: Intertextuality: the relationship between texts, especially literary ones. The Heart of Darkness and The Things They Carried have a few intertwining similarities. Both mention the actions and effects of war and invasion. Both of the main characters, Marlow and O’Brien, openly express of the approach and tactics used in their actions, but had no choice but to enact upon them. One of the stories within the novel, “Sweetheart of the Song Tra Bong”, has many similarities to the Heart of Darkness. The same aspects were included except the gender roles were switched. Instead of men like Marlow and Kurtz, there was Mary Anne and Mark Fossie, with Mary Anne becoming enveloped in the war and its terrors, even learning to love, while Fossie can only sit and watch.
Ch. 6: I believe the novel, The Great Gatsby, is somewhat correspondant to one of Shakespeare’s works, Romeo and Juliet. Both stories are about lovers who were never meant to love one another due to major stipulations. In Gatsby and Daisy’s case, there was a marriage in between their love lost among time. Romeo and Juliet were seperated by clashing family disputes. However, despite the warnings and danger of seeing one another, they do it anyway. Their meetings are both met with passsionate love and lust, however, the fun doesn’t last forever. In the end, they are both caught but this is where the similarities cease. Instead of both lovers dying because they could not be apart from each other, such was the case of Romea and Juliet, Gatsby was meant with an ungraceful demise, with Daisy kicking rocks back into her unhappy, but “safe” life
Ch. 7: Just Read
Ch. 8: The Harry Potter series and the classic Cinderella tale share many of the same plot structures. Both Harry and Cinderella are mistreated by their respective horrendous step families and hate the lives they are forced to endure. Cinderella becomes friends with small little animals while Harry becomes friends with other wizards like himself, with both families strongly disapproving of and look down upon. Just as Cinderella’s fairy god mother came to her rescue, Hagrid somewhat the fairy godmother figure being that he opens Harry’s eyes to a world he never knew. Both stories also have a ‘prince charming’character that makes their lives better. Cinderella is whisked away from the torment of her family by Prince Charming, and Harry is taken upon by Dumblodore to Hogwarts. A type of irony is formed by Cinderella going and liveing happily ever after when reaching the castle, whereas Harry never reaches his so called ‘happily ever after’ as he continues with his struggles even after reaching Hogwarts.
Ch. 9: Hercules Strong. Fierce. Mighty. Brave. This is a minute tale of Hercules. A man not so much, but a god in man form His power, unrivaled, like none ever seen However, he had a heart, just like you and me 🙂
Ch 10: Before reading this chapter I never thought weather could be so important (or necessary). In the novel Heart of Darkness, the weather is very symbolic and even foreshadows events to come. Within the book, it is almost always cloudy, with a high chance of gloom and depression. Almost nothing good happens in the book, except for Marlow getting his job, but that’s what started the whole trouble in the first place. The weather symbolized the mood of particular moments in the book, which was pretty much the same mood throughout the whole book. One moment when it wasn’t cloudy was when Marlow saw Kurtz’s African mistress for the first time. Her strong embodiment of fortitude and beauty was further expressed by the sun which made her skin appear golden. The weather helps further express and create a better understanding of the mood or atmosphere represented within a novel.
Ch 11: There are two major kinds of violence in literature. The first is specific injury that characters bring upon themselves or upon other characters. The second is general harm brought on by the author, rather than the characters, to advance the plot or theme. These two types of violence are prevelent in The Things They Carried. The type of violence in which characters bring harm upon themselves or others is used when First Lieutenant Jimmy Cross lets his love blind him of his him surroundings, and a soldier is killed. Whether not it was his fault is debatable, but he sure did think of it to be his doing, and he took it very hard. The whole thing shook him enough to make him change his whole attitude and made him more focused. The type of voilence in which general harm is brought on by the author is also used on First Lieutenant Jimmy Cross. O’Brien used these events to express the pain of war, but to also show what others at war must go through sometimes, almost like a right of passage.
Ch 12: In Araby by James Joyce, Mangan’s sister is always distant from the protagonist. In one particular instance, she is talking to our unnamed protagonist from behind a fence. Fences serve to separate one area from another, making an impenetrable barrier. They are often symbols of captivity or a form of oppression. Although fences can symbolize a number of things, the one in this story is a physical representation of the distance between Mangan’s sister and the unnamed protagonist. Throughout the story he is always watching her from a distance. The physical distance is a good representation of the emotional distance in the earlier part of the story. The fence shows the emotional distance when the physical distance is absent. Even though they are but a few feet apart casually talking, the fence is still representative of the vast emotional distance that is still there. Overall, a sad but relatable tale.
Ch 13: Foster’s theory of politics in books is that not every story is political. There are just parts of books that are political. I believe this to be somewhat true and until I read that chapter I didn’t realize that the Heart of Darkness was kinda political. The characters that are being treated unfairly are the Africans. These people were being invaded and forced to move for the sake of ivory and other things. Even Marlow mentioned the wickedness of this and how it was covered up by the notion of the country obtaining power. Those in charge of these facilties within Africa most likely didn’t use their power in the light of their country. As evident with Kurtz, these leaders abused their powers, and even punished those who disagreed with their notions, however silly.
Ch 14: A Christ figure can be found often in literary works and movies in the past and today. One example of this is Aslan, from The Chronicles of Narnia. Aslan was a selfless character, and was trying to save the world by defeating the evil White Witch. He and the other children, however, are betrayed by Edmund, who goes to the White Witch. Despite the betrayal, Aslan takes Edmund’s place when he’s about to be sacrificed. He does this selflessly for the undeserving and unworthy Edmund. Aslan even rises from the dead to save Narnia and defeat the White Witch, just as Christ had risen from the dead. He also had many characteristics that a Christ figure’s supposed to have, such as: self-sacrificing, good with children, forgiving, rising from the dead, and many others. Aslan’s almost a dead-on portrayal of our Savior, except he’s a lion.
Ch 15: The Harry Potter series contains many flights, one particular flight of freedom was the scene in 5th Harry Potter book. Harry gets into trouble by using magic outside of Hgwarts, to his relatives fury,and he has to fly to the wizard world. This flight is Harry’s escape from his imprisonment in the mortal world. Back home, Harry was miserable, and felt terribly misunderstood was mocked by those around him . He felt trapped when he lived with his uncle and aunt who made their nephew’s life miserable. He was eager to escape his boring life that consisted of cleaning, sitting alone, and not being allowed to participate in any enjoyable activities and enjoy the unburdened life of flying, however brief. All Harry wanted was to fly back to the wizard world where he had friends, happy with his life, and where he could perform magic without restrictions of reprecussions. During his flight he’s laughing, having a good time and looking forward to be going towards where he believes is his true home.
Ch 16-17: In The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald establishes the sexual relationship between Gatsby and Daisy without detailing their encounters. The two first became lovers when they met in Louisville where Gatsby was stationed before going overseas to World War I. Fitzgerald lets on to their relationship when he tells of their intense love for each other after only just meeting one another.When Gatsby and Daisy reunite in the West Egg five years later, Fitzgerald suggests subtly that they resumed their sexual relationship. Gatsby had thrown many huge parties, where people came to his mansion “by the hundreds,” hoping to attract his long-lost Daisy. After he and Daisy do meet again, however, the parties stop abruptly, Gatsby fires all his servants, and hires new people. He didn’t want anyone to mess up his longed love for Daisy by revealing any secrets. Although their romance was subtle, there was definite lovin’ going on in that mansion.
Ch. 18: The novel Fahrenheit 451 is not only about burning, but also about rebirth. Guy Montag, one of the main characters, is in the midst of his rebellion, and a tracking dog is sent after him. Guy retrieves some clothes from Faber and heads off toward the river and quickly jumps in. He doesn’t hesitate to lose his clothes and put on the new pair Faber gave him. Guy comes out on the other side somewhere down the river, in kind of a way, a new man. This baptismic scene represents Montags rebirth. He was stripped of his previous life, (clothes and all) and started fresh somewhere far away from his old life. Guy had a new life awaiting him from that point on; a fresh start. Montag could then lead the life he had always wanted, being a free man from the overpowering government.
Ch 19: Foster confesses that geography can be the development of a character. In the Heart of Darkness, Tim matures from a scared boy to man willing to face the slumps of life, no mater how trivial and unrighteous. Foster reveals that this would have never of happened if the character had stayed within his own “geography”. Another type of geography can be the plot role in literary work. In the Heart of Darkness, Marlow travels all over to find himself a good job, and when he does find one, it leads him to an unforgettable journey of pain, fear, and regret.
Geography can also be types of places, like when Marlow is fixated on the beauty yet terror of the jungles surrounding the boat. Another apect of geography mentioned is its ability to represent a symbol. This is very prevelant in the Heart of Darkness, when Marlow stares at the crooked and eerieness of the trees that enveloped the jungle. There was also the rough waters and narrow upstream boat ride that almost stopped Marlow from seeing Kurtz. It was as though nature was telling them to stop, as no good wa up ahead.
Ch 20: I walk in the old street to hear the beloved songs afresh this spring night like the leaves- my loves wake- not to be the same or look tireless to the stars and a ripped doorbell In this poem, “I Walk in the Old Street” by Louis Zukofsky, the season of spring is mentioned. Seasons are referenced in literary works because a certain season sets a certain mood and creates a specific setting and feeling. When a person thinks of winter they feel cold or joyous memories from their childhood. Fall may bring memories of harvest time and bring upon the mood of dreariness . Summer makes people feel warm, free, and happy; while spring represents new birth, or a refreshing rain shower. However, all of these feelings vary from one person to another. In, “I Walk in the Old Street”, the season of spring is setting the mood of freshness. The purpose of the poem is to talk about love naturally, and is compared to springtime giving it a crisp, fresh outlook to the reader.
Ch. 21: Harry Potter was left with only a mere scar of a lightning bolt after his first encounter with Lord Voldemort as an infant. Voldemort had succeeded in killing many of those opposed against him in the magical world, including Harry’s parents, but simply could not defeat Harry even as an infant, due to the ‘power of love’ his mother displayed towards Harry. So from this scar the reader can comprehend that Harry has what Lord Voldemort would never be able to defeat, the act of being loved. As the series progresses, the reader learns that Lord Voldemort is slowly coming back into power, with the only person who can stop Voldemort being the one who stripped away his power in the first place; Harry Potter.
Ch 22: In the novel, Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad, one of the main characters, Kurtz, dies of an unknown illness. He died after doing countless things on his own and creating quite the reputation for himself. By the Africans, he was revered as a god, and had other worshippers besides the tribesmen, like the chatty harlequinne man. However, he had a twisted morality and justification of things, as evident with the human skulls left atop the post. His last words, ” The horror! The horror!” represent his disdain in having to face judgement of his actions done in Africa, and elsewhere.
Another instance in which a character dies of an illness is in the novel, The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne. This was the case of Arthur Dimmesdale, who was stricken with an unknown illness throughout the entirety of the novel. Finally, after, years of sickness and a heavy burden of guilt and shame, he revealed his secret affair with Hester, and dropped dead. His death represented his freedom. Freedom from the pain, guilt, and torment. He was relieved of his worldy status and ascended on. Death can be represented in many forms, as it has been since long ago in literature.
Ch 25: In The Taming of A Shrew, written by Shakespeare around 1590, many ideas that would be considered sexist or morally wrong by anyone reading it today exist within it. The whole prospect of the story is a young man trying to ‘tame’ his young wife into doing whatever he pleases. He expects her to meet all of his needed desires and agree with anything that he says or does without any of the backlash that would be accepted today. During Shakespeare’s era, this was common of women to be treated more like a servant, slave rather than an actual wife or daughter. Today,people, mainly women, would not comply or adhere with the idea of men being in total control of everything and woman dutifully following their orders.
Ch. 26: Irony can be very entertaining and can liven up a novel. In the book Fahrenheit 451, Guy Montag, one of the main characters, is a fireman. Firemen in this book had the duties of burning banished books people tried to hide in their homes. Montag’s job in life was to rid the town of these potentially dangerous books. Ironically, Montag goes from burning these books, to trying to salvage the knowledge contained within the books. Fire is a harsh element usually related to death, as fire is what Montag used to destroy the books. Toward the end of the novel when he realizes he wants to save the books, he gets “baptized” in the river, representing new life. The entire novel is one big irony from beginning to end.