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Narration in Conrad’s ‘Heart of Darkness’

The narrative elements in Joseph Conrad’s story Heart of Darkness are taken in three steps, which is very unique considering it is not a movie but a novel. The first part of the narration is seen in that Conrad experienced much of the actual events of the story. The story begins by way of a narrator. Then the story further expounds upon the race issues of the journey through the Congo by way of a double narration.

The ‘I’ of the story is not known to the reader but the other narrator of the story (as told through the ‘I’) is named Marlow. It is through Marlow’s narration that the reader begins to know the characters and adventure of the story. Thus, the story is filtered somewhat and diluted or formed through hyperbole by way of the expected exaggeration of the journey and the dangers that unfolded to Marlow. Because of this exaggeration the reader is never quite sure what elements to believe as truth in the story.

Despite the story having its harrowing bits, and its race issues and adventure, because the story is found not through a secondary but by a tertiary source, the reader needs to anticipate that not all of the story will be the exact unfolding of the events as they happened but by the way the people who witnessed them happened as told by the narrator or the ‘I’ on the boat and then related to the reader by Conrad. Thus, opinions warp the story.

Works Cited

Conrad, J. Heart of Darkness. Bentley Pub, New York. 2002.

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