“Consider a monologue describing in sequence all of an individual’s recollections. It would sound as a meaningless cacophony even to the narrator.” (Trouillot 15)
As I was reading Heart of Darkness, I came to realize that the whole book can be described (sort of) with this quote from Silencing the Past. I say “sort of” because I don’t think that Heart of Darkness is meaningless or cacophonous; just hard to understand. I think I can say that because I’ve read it twice (third read in progress) and I’m still not too sure of it.
(I also have to admit that I didn’t flag the quote while reading Silencing the Past, and I had to search for it on Amazon. I guess that “events otherwise significant to the life trajectory were not known to the individual at the time of the occurrence” (15)).
I remember Jon saying in lecture for Black Skin/White Masks that if Fanon handed that in as an Arts One essay, he’d probably get a B-. Well, if Conrad handed in Heart of Darkness as a creative writing project in, say, high school, he probably wouldn’t get a very good grade because it’s so strongly stream-of-consciousness. (Then again, I’m sort of a lowballer when it comes to marks…)
The narration also struck me as very Frankensteinian (Shelleyan?) – guy on a boat meets another guy, second guy tells long and scary story. Although I do think Mary Shelley uses the narrative device in a way that’s easier to understand than Conrad. Hannah said something like this about Foucault before, but it’s just hard to understand what’s going on when paragraphs span whole pages and then some. I can’t remember if Shelley had the same ridiculously long paragraphs going on – but if she did, she must have done something differently.
“Two women, one fat and the other slim, sat on straw-bottomed chairs, knitting black wool.” (75)
One of my most distinct memories from English 10 is of Madam Defarge, knitting (not that I ever actually saw her knitting as opposed to just reading about it). When I read this part in Heart of Darkness, I asked myself (and wrote down) – when are fictional knitters ever good news? It’s not just Madame Defarge. You have the Fates in Percy Jackson, who knit huge blue socks (although in the myth, the Fates are weavers). See?
Now that I think about it, though, I guess there are some fictional knitters who end up being all right. For example, one of my favourite stories as a child was Hans Christian Andersen’s The Wild Swans, which is about a girl whose brothers are turned into swans, and to turn them back, she has to knit them sweaters from thorns. (I know Wikipedia says that they’re shirts of stinging nettle, but how I remember it is close enough, I guess. I actually seem to remember it as the girl having to make the sweaters using thorns as knitting needles…but whatever.) There’s another very similar fairy tale by the Brothers Grimm, if you’re interested.
(Since some of you apologize for your blog post titles, sorry for mine.)
I’m not sure how much longer I can stand the constant vacillation between warm/cold and sunny/rainy. Thanks for reading, everyone.