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On the Disillusion in Youth, Heart of Darkness and the End of the Tether

Author: WangHong
Tutor: WangSongLin
School: Jiangxi Normal University
Course: English Language and Literature
Keywords: growing disillusion growing criticism unity
Type: Master's thesis
Year: 2006
Downloads: 196
Quote: 1
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What I discuss in this paper is Conrad’s growing disillusion and criticism to British colonialism in Youth, Heart of Darkness, and The End of the Tether.In Chapter One, the demonstration is that Youth is a tale of disillusion Many critics agree that Youth is a romance of sea, praising the seaman’s noble qualities and youthful vigor. The disillusion in it is often neglected. In this part, I’ve stated that Youth is a tale of disillusion which is presented by the sharp contrast between narrator Marlow and seaman Marlow. In this tale there are two voices-Marlow as a seaman and Marlow as a narratorwhich co-express the theme of disillusion. The differences between two Marlow’s are presented in three ways: Firstly, the vision of the disasters during the Judea’s voyage is very different between two Marlow. For seaman Marlow, the disastrous voyage is a test to his youth and courage, and this is a heroic journey and a heroic arrival in the East; However, narrator Marlow thinks the voyage is not successful at all, the Judea’s final moments represents the burning fire of youth. Secondly, narrator Marlow has different view of the motto ’Do or Die’ from that of seaman Marlow. The motto under the ship encourages seaman Marlow immensely, and it is a symbol of seamen’s noble spirit. However, in narrator Marlow’s eyes, the motto has a little tragic significance, the sinking of the ship makes the motto a slogan. This is also the reflection of Conrad’s pessimistic view of the world. Thirdly, two Marlow have different feeling of the Judea’s sinking. While Judea sinks at last, seaman Marlow does not feel as much sorry as Mr Beard, because the sinking offered him a chance to command a cruising independently at first time. For narrator Marlow, the Judea’s sinking takes away his youth and his dream, equaling with the sinking ship of faith. This mirrors the crisis of faith in Conrad’s time. In addition, the image of East and the Western voice indicates Conrad’s light skeptical attitude to British colonialism. But because of Conrad’s favorite to Britain, this dissatisfaction is expressed implicitly. The critical awareness of British colonialism in Youth is very weak and light.

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