“Fiction–if it at all aspire to be art–appeals to temperament. And in truth it must be, like painting, like music, like all art, the appeal of one temperament to all the other innumerable temperaments whose subtle and resistless power endows passing events with their true meaning, and creates the moral, the emotional atmosphere of the place and time. Such an appeal to be effective must be an impression conveyed through the senses; and, in fact, it cannot be made in any other way, because temperament, whether individual or collective, is not amenable to persuasion. All art, therefore, appeals primarily to the senses, and the artistic aim when expressing itself in written words must also make its appeal through the senses, if its high desire is to reach the secret spring of responsive emotions. It must strenuously aspire to the plasticity of sculpture, to the color of painting, and to the magic suggestiveness of music–which is the art of arts. And it is only through complete, unswerving devotion to perfect blending of form and substance; it is only through an unremitting never-discouraged care for the shape and ring of sentences that an approach can be made to plasticity, to color, and that the light of magic suggestiveness may be brought to play for an evanescent instant over the commonplace surface of words: of the old, old words, worn thin, defaced by ages of careless usage.” –Joseph Conrad, Preface to The Nigger of the Narcissus
Read the preceding quote carefully to gain a better understanding of Conrad’s approach to literary aesthetics*. Then, using one of the following passages from Heart of Darkness, write a 600-850 word essay examining how Conrad establishes a mood in the passage—through diction, figurative language, and/or syntax—that complements or underscores one of the novel’s themes. Pay careful attention to connotative word choice. Avoid mere plot summary.
*The branch of philosophy that deals with the nature and value of art objects and experiences. It is concerned with identifying the clues within works that can be used to understand, judge, and defend judgments about those works. Originally, any activity connected with art, beauty and taste, becoming more broadly the study of art’s function, nature, ontology, purpose, and so on.
A) Leaving Central Station (Part 2, pp. 39-43): from “Towards the evening of the second day…” to “Even extreme grief may ultimately vent itself in violence….”
B) Marlowe’s digression on Kurtz (Part 2, pp. 48-51): from “I laid the ghost of his gifts at last with a lie…” to …like a claim of distant kinship affirmed in a supreme moment.”
C) Kurtz’s end (Part 3. pp. 65-69): from “‘I had immense plans,’ he muttered irresolutely.” to “The horror! The horror!”
D) Kurtz’s legacy (Part 3, pp. 69-72): from “However, as you see, I did not go to join Kurtz there and then.” to “I don’t know. I can’t tell. But I went.”