Joined: Oct 2007 Posts: 3256 Location: Cheshire, England
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This is the telling of a Nightmare - and I think could only be effective told in the first person.
I found an intimacy in the use of language....short phrases as though the narrator is uttering his train of thought, rather than telling a story, and whispering in your ear:-
e.g. ....but there....there you could look at a thing monstrous and free. It was unearthly and the men were....No, they were not inhuman. Well, you know that was the worst of it - this suspicion of their not being inhuman. It would come slowly to one. They howled and leaped and spun and made horrid faces; but what thrilled you was just the though of their humanity - like yours - the thought of your remote kinship with this wild and passionate uproar. Ugly. Yes it was ugly enough:
I find this style of writing so intimate - I don't think I have ever read a book before with such an intense feeling of the author whispering it to you directly.
Joined: Jan 2008 Posts: 6340 Location: Luray, Virginia
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An added dimension
I like the way Conrad's narrative adds depth to the story. The unnamed narrator strarts things off with a marvelous evocation of the Thames as night comes on. Perhaps this is even meant to contrast with the typical way Marlowe interprets scenery. But the first narrator also gives us little views of Marlowe himself from an objective point of view. He sits like an idol, he holds his hands outstretched like a buddha. This adds something to the great deal that Marlowe reveals to us about himself in his own story.
I also wonder if to Conrad, it was important to separate Marlowe from the "writing" of the story. That is left to the unnamed narrator, so that Marlowe can be only the sailor-raconteur.
Joined: Jan 2008 Posts: 759
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It was somethiing that had to be told in narrative - it could have been done omnisciently, I suppose, but that would have given the writer the responsibility of figuring out what each character was thinking.
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