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2010.2.

7 Class Notes 1
APE Medeval Literaure and Frye’s Mythoi Dan Parker

1 Heart of Darkness Discussion


- the two women at the beginning are really the three fates,
- there is, however, some displacement on the symbol
- only two women
- knitting black wool → like “African hair”
- instead of a “Golden Robe”
- is this supposed to be funny?
- is it racist?
- at any rate, it is a great example of irony
- the two women in Kurtz’s life symbolize the cultures they each come from
- “Marlow has a metacognative map of symbols in Heart of Darkness where the native women is the
embodiment of the Congo and Marlow is the pilgrim in the Dantean sense.”

2 A Note on Chiasmus
- Chiasmus is when words are placed in ABBA order
- in Latin this refers to pairs that agree in case, gender, number
- in English, however, as well as in a more general literary context, it can refer to related words or
phrases in following pattern:
AB
BA
- notice that this forms a pattern like the Greek letter χ (chi)
- hence chiasmus

3 Heart of Darkness and Apocalypse Now


- it is quite clear that Apocalypse Now is simply a modern re-telling of Heart of Darkness
- there is a colonial power trying — and succeeding to some extent — to subdue a “barbaric” people
- the colonial power does this by committing atrocities, but pretending they aren’t
- there is some person who was originally part of the colonial effort who “went native” and became
“barbaric” himself — who just happens to be called Kurtz
- the protagonist journeys up a river to find this Kurtz
- there are even more similarities, but after this point, they are mostly small parts of the plot
- except for the time period, exact occupation of Kurtz, and setting, the two stories are exactly the
same