1: Conrad’s Heart of darkness, startled me a couple of years ago when I first read it. At that time I did not have a lot of back ground knowledge to the topics adressed in the book. I wanted to read it again is because in this course we talked a lot about colonialism, about westerners being subject to influence of unknown territories, about natives being victimized by the colonialists and so on. These themes are also present in Heart of Darkness and since we read The island of Doctor Moreaux, Robinson Crusoe but also A Small Place and Blu’s Hanging I feel that I have a better understanding of (post) colonial texts.
As I will be focusing on the Harlequin, I will need to close-read Marlow’s encounter with him carefully. Also Marlow’s encounter with Kurtz and the role of The Company in the story will be of importance to my writings about the function of the Harlequin in Conrad’s Heart of Darkness.
2: However, at this point there are many things that I still don’t fully grasp. If a complex book as Heart of Darkness can ever be fully grasped. The following questions are important to my analysis:
1) How is the seemingly light character of the Harlequin to be seen in such a heavy and dark story?
2) How come that the wilderness and the darkness of the Congo have such a different impact on the Harlequin compared to the other characters?
3) Why did Conrad include this character in the story?
4) What does this character symbolize in the story?
5) What is according to previous research the general idea of the book?
3: The reason why I want to write about this book is because it seems to me the best example of estrangement. Not only in terms of the plot but perhaps even more so because of Conrad’s writing style. He totally estranges me as a reader from what happens in the story by his elaborate descriptions of the impenetrable wilderness. I’m also intrigued by Conrad’s tendency to mystify and abstract both his characters and their surroundings. Also,iIt is not at all a clear-cut idea that he puts forward. This book leaves me pondering. I hope through writing about it to enlarge my understanding of it tad more.