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Contrasting Elements 
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Post Contrasting Elements
"Heart" and "Darkness" seem to me to be contrasting elements or symbols with contrasting interpretations. What other co-existing elements do you see that are in conflict with each other? What purpose might they have?



Tue Apr 20, 2010 2:48 pm
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Post Re: Contrasting Elements
"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."
----Page 126

It probably comes across as overly simplistic, but two contrasting elements I found are compassion and...well...lack of compassion. Marlow himself, though he occasionally comes across as condescending (using the word "savage" a lot) still feels an exceptional degree of concern for the atrocities he witnesses. Other characters, particularly Kurtz, are manipulative and apparently have no compassion whatsoever. What they overlook is the human element: That to attain control and impose order, a megalomaniac must make other individuals suffer.

Many of history's problems have originated from lack of compassion. Wars are caused by pride, lack of understanding, universal hatred, but more than anything a lack of compassion and failure to realize the parallels that exist between all nations, between all human socities. Thus, even though the theme of compassion if very simplistic, it still ties greatly to the world at large.



Sun May 02, 2010 6:40 pm
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Post Re: Contrasting Elements
I'm not sure if this would be considered to be an element, but in my view, the river and Africa in general are contrasting elements of each other. Africa was known to be the Heart of Darkness, a place which has contained much chaos and tragedy. On the other hand, the river seemed to symbolize peace and quiet.

In my opinion, its quite ironic how the river was inside Africa. To me, this shows that in all hearts(even the ones that seem to be pure darkness), a part of it is always peaceful and innocent.



Sun May 02, 2010 11:11 pm
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Post Re: Contrasting Elements
I agree with Evan, two very radical contrasting elements are the care and and lack of caring for the Africans. Marlow may not directly care, but it is narrated that he shows much more interest in them. As for Kurtz and other high powered characters, such as the ones that sent Marlow there in the first place have showed little to no care for them whatsoever.



Sun May 02, 2010 11:54 pm
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Post Re: Contrasting Elements
Two contrasting elements/symbols could be the continuous river and Marlow's gaining knowledge of Africa. The deeper he goes into the river, the more he gains.. and the darker it seems to get. I think that they rely on one another to progress in the story, otherwise the story is standstill, like when Marlow's boat broke and they had to wait for rivets. -Virginia 1st period



Mon May 03, 2010 12:01 am
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Post Re: Contrasting Elements
I'm not quite sure if this is the thread to the literary elements homework, but I sure hope it is.

The members on the boat are significant in their own little way, and while they are a necessity, I feel like they hold each other back. As discussed in class, one might symbolize the human mind, where the id, ego, and superego live. The "others" are cannibals who the whites look down on when given rotten meat. They are the heart of Africa, the main inhabitants of the land. However, they are also the darkest part of the continent, for they are seen as savages. It all depends on whose eyes you're looking through.



Mon May 03, 2010 12:02 am
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Post Re: Contrasting Elements
Two contrasting elements I found are light and darkness. When Marlow discovers Kurtz, he is greeted by a colorful character. This kind of shocking brightness in a tale of such extreme darkness can lead the reader to believe the light could actually foreshadow something much darker. The 'harlequin' character could serve as a shock absorber, to distract the reader from the strange condition in which they find Kurtz. Earlier in the book, the clean, polished official acted as the light to distract from the despicable treatment of the Africans.



Mon May 03, 2010 12:07 am
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Post Re: Contrasting Elements
Stagnancy vs. Progression
Marlow's journey into the African Congo reflects his mindset of progress, moving forward and coming closer to his achievements, yet certain obstacles prevent his movement and leave him in a standstill. The river should be a propelling element, pushing Marlow closer to Kurtz, but unexpected troubles occur on this river. He had to wait three months for the rivets to fix his boat, and he ran into an ambush, where his helmsman had died of a spear attack. Although this river is pushes Marlow to Kurtz, it also provides the stop signs and red lights that prohibits Marlow from proceeding with his journey. Perhaps these occurrences are warning signs for Marlow?



Mon May 03, 2010 12:31 am
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Post Re: Contrasting Elements
For me, I feel like the life and death are contrasting elements in HOD. The river is like a dark matter to me. It's a place of death so I feel like after people fall in or get thrown or pushed into the river they enter a different world, the underworld. Then the people are just doing what they do, living and being happy and whatnot. I guess what I'm trying to say is that the death and life are contrasting elements because the river represents death and people are just filled with life and hope.
-Tiffany 1st period



Mon May 03, 2010 12:40 am
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Post Re: Contrasting Elements
As I learn about Kurtz more and more, the two contrasting elements i found are hollowness and completeness. It seems to me that on the outside Kurtz seems to have everything; his ivory, his station, his river... etc, but his true self is hollow and insatiable. He constantly hunts for ivory to give him a sense of completeness, belonging and power over the people he takes it from. In truth, he is just searching for something to fill the void in him, he wants to stop but he has come too far to turn back. In the end, he commits the actions that contrasts his desires and is swallowed by darkness as he strays away from his true heart.

- Katherine Chan 1st period



Mon May 03, 2010 12:50 am
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Post Re: Contrasting Elements
Evan wrote:
"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."
----Page 126

It probably comes across as overly simplistic, but two contrasting elements I found are compassion and...well...lack of compassion. Marlow himself, though he occasionally comes across as condescending (using the word "savage" a lot) still feels an exceptional degree of concern for the atrocities he witnesses. Other characters, particularly Kurtz, are manipulative and apparently have no compassion whatsoever. What they overlook is the human element: That to attain control and impose order, a megalomaniac must make other individuals suffer.

Many of history's problems have originated from lack of compassion. Wars are caused by pride, lack of understanding, universal hatred, but more than anything a lack of compassion and failure to realize the parallels that exist between all nations, between all human socities. Thus, even though the theme of compassion if very simplistic, it still ties greatly to the world at large.

I agree with Evan because i think the characters care differently about other people. Kurtz doesn't care much about the Africans while Marlow shows concern for others. Kurtz lacks feelings for others while Marlow shows a sense of care when people are dying around him.



Mon May 03, 2010 12:50 am
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Post Re: Contrasting Elements
Much of the "civilized" world viewed Africans as savages and beasts. They were not viewed or treated equally as humans yet they showed the most restraint. Marlow notes the insistent gnaw of hunger. Hunger is enough to drive even the most "civilized" and etiquette abiding gentleman into mad frenzy and extremes for nourishment. Yet, even though the cannibals were starving and outnumbered the whites by a large factor they did not attack. If the most prestigious of man easily succumbs to the primal rage of hunger but the most beastly of "savages" show adamant will and restraint, how can they be called savages?

-Andy 1st period.



Mon May 03, 2010 12:51 am
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Post Re: Contrasting Elements
The contrasting elements I found were "civilize" and "uncivilize". I think those two elements also represent light and darkness. The "civilize" are considered to be the white men, who are light skinned. The "uncivilized" are known to be the Africans, who are dark skinned. Throughout the novel, the "civilize" and the "uncivilize" are situated side-by-side. I think this shows that there's a middle between the two elements. And in the middle, there's a understanding of the both sides. I think as Marlow continues to travel deeper into the "Heart of Darkness" he gains more understanding of his surrondings.



Mon May 03, 2010 12:54 am
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Post Re: Contrasting Elements
Some co-existing elements that I see in this novel is Achieving but Failing. Marlow’s wish to see Kurtz but fail to achieve it. This whole novel so far talks about him longing to see Kurtz but after that raging war in the jungle, Marlow isn’t capable to encounter him. These are co-existing elements because it makes me question, what can Marlow do now after what he had long for dissolved? His confidence has crumbled and feels highly depressed. Marlow feels that this whole journey was a waste. I think that its purpose was to demonstrate Marlow’s perseverance to strive to get to where he is currently at.

Additionally, I believe this is parallel to the” Heart” of “Darkness” because what Marlow hoped and wished for, is now becoming an end by not seeing Kurtz and accomplishing what he been striving for. His lost on longing to see Kurtz had created his heart to become a place of darkness.

-Stephanie Logarta, 1st period



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Mon May 03, 2010 12:56 am
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Post Re: Contrasting Elements
The two main contrasting elements I see are light and darkness. Marlow's journey has both pros and cons due to what he is experiencing and what has occurred. Marlow's choice of going to Africa is because of curiosity and the fact that he wants to explore, is good yet bad. Now that it is happening, the more dangerous and darker it gets. This Helmsman man has already died because of the attack of spears ,what more can possibly go negative?

-cindyl. 1º



Mon May 03, 2010 1:00 am
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