The Visions Of Light And Darkness- Joseph — страница 4

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of the two women in the beginning stages of the novel who knitting black wool. Obviously this short scene has some symbolic significance simply because they are knitting with black wool. Because this scene takes place before Marlow truly begins his journey, one may think that the women are merely foreshadowing the darkness which Marlow will encounter on his voyage. This is true, but the true meaning of the women and the black wool lies deeper than just upon the surface. These women sit waiting outside of Marlow?s interview room and as he walks in. These women can be seen as symbols potential judges as they recall the Fates of Greek mythology: Marlow?s journey to Africa starts from ?a whited sepulchre? of a city, presumably Brussels, where amid images of the Fates and of the Styx

he obtains an appointment as captain of a steamer on a mighty river in ?a place of darkness,? obviously the Congo?? (Bennett 76) Carl Bennett recalls the meeting Marlow had with the women knitting the black wool as a journey which began on land with the encounter of the women which foreshadowed his fate in the Congo. Another approach to this symbol is to imagine that the women serve as guardians to the gates of hell. As Marlow walks through the door and receives the commission onboard the steamer, it is like he is walking through the gates of hell or Hades. The symbol of the river then transforms to that of the Greek mythology in which the person going to hell must pay the boatman a token for his one way voyage across the sea of the dead. Unlike any person on their way to the

mythical hell, Marlow did not reach hell, he nearly brushed upon it and was able to escape. Kurtz?s fate was not as fortunate. The knitting women are not the only image which takes place at the beginning of the novel. As Marlow begins narrating his story he and the crew are waiting onboard the Nellie for the tide to turn. The turning of the tide represents the turning of the revolution which is taking place in the African Congo. The white men are continually trying to colonize the jungle so that they can easily get the ivory out and make wealth off of the land which in the future the hope to industrialize. The tide in history is about to turn. The European Kurtz symbolizes the decaying Western civilization for that light can not penetrate the darkness of the Congo. Also in the

beginning of the novel just before the story begins Marlow is described as sitting in a Buddha position. This position represents, for most people, experience and great knowledge. These are the qualities that he gained while venturing into his heart of darkness. Candles are another symbol which, like ivory, represent light, clarity, and goodness, but in the novel represent nothing more than white supremacy. The company manager is the only one of the first or outer station who had any right to the candles. In essence, this white man is the giver of light, of life. A black person is never given a candle for they are uncivilized, only the civilized men are welcome to the light. The candles also symbolize hope, which the white people are allowed to have but the natives are not

entitled to. Once at the inner station, which Kurtz has turned into his own civilization, the reader is able to find symbolism in many different objects. A Russian member of the cult-like society serves as a guide for Marlow and his crew. He is a symbol of the reality of the darkness in the soul. The heads which are propped up on stakes represent the fate of one who could not handle the encounter with the darkness in their soul. The very existence of this primitive civilization represents the death which is in the air, on the ground, upon the buildings, and in the inhabitants. The inner station represents the darkness of the uncivilized. There are many characters in the novel and even the most minute has key roles in the sequencing of the novel. The most important characters or

groups of characters which appeared in the novel and are essential to the progression of the journey are Marlow and Kurtz. The relationship which they have with one another is the main thrust of the story. The natives which appear in three different stages through out the novel have a vital role, for they appear in scenes throughout the novel and interact with the symbolic objects also carry with them a symbolic aspect of light and darkness. Charlie Marlow, as the main character, is very complicated. Because of the structure of the story Marlow plays two roles; one as a narrator and the other as the messenger on the voyage. The book is set up in a cylindrical style so that when the reader is first introduced to Marlow he seems tainted with wisdom, for he appears to know the