Additionally, the oral quality of the text and the written exist in a continuum: we have the speaking Marlow and the scribal Marlow, the one is as omnipresent as the other. The sense of live interaction and immediacy of the vocal lies there within the written text—an interplay of ear and eye. Voice is an essential factor in the narrative, which is experienced as elocution. Evidences in the narrative support its orality.
Joseph Conrad’s ‘Youth’: A Melting Pot for the Old and New
The use of colloquial expressions infuses the text with a telling-mode quality, as they capture the sounds of natural and informal speech. In some instances repetition is obviously anaphoric, and anaphora is a phenomenon of orality. These create an effect of the spokenness of the text. Apart from enhancing the aesthetic quality of the text, the interplay of parataxis, i. One may note, in passing, that parataxis is of interest to postmodern writers. Oral delivery is underlined further by the profusion of dashes in the text.
The dash, generally, indicates a fissure and silence in texture and thought; in other words, interrupted speech. This, too, grants the narration a sense of simultaneity. The oral quality has also foundation in that the word in action profusion of incident , rather than in description or dialogue, constitutes the bulk of the narrative.
Actions and deeds stand preeminent in an oral culture. Here Marlow, moving between different ranges of time, loads his praise onto the Liverpool crew for their maritime preeminence, a quality which has remained constant. The use of the present tense in itself highlights the oral performance of the text.
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Years after the events, the clear-seeing Marlow relives the experiencing self in the remembrance of things past. He is launched upon a voyage of discovery that will take him from innocence to experience.
Literature and Legal Discourse: Equity and Ethics from Sterne to Conrad
His youth, with its impatient zest and quicksilver exuberance, forms the matrix of the entire narrative. He is not to be ruffled by early portents of impending hazards; he looks more and more nonplussed. To be, he must do in moments of stress and crisis. In this spirit he toils so hard: shovelling sand ballast, taking his turns at the pumps to save the leaky ship ill-fit for the task from being drowned, and toiling to combat explosion and fire.
Marlow is not waiting in the wings; he is the exceptional young man of labour and initiative. He takes intense pleasure in being true to his adventurous nature.
He deliberately parts company with the others. He is prepared to run the risk as he is determined to make land first—an ego-enhancing achievement. But his sense of being distinguished from the others is somewhat curtailed, he ends up almost drawing level with them. His desire to surpass is at one with his solipsistic impulse. He cannot keep heroic ego-assertion in detrimental external circumstances. During the course of the narrative he detaches himself from the experience and intrudes reflexive metanarrative comments working out his sense of self-directed judgment, thus coupling critical reflection, not self-approval, with narrative flow.
It is a story-plus-gloss formula. He practices dialoguing with self by becoming other. He is both author and critical reader of his story, both signifier and signified.
This is akin to a heteroglossia of discourses. Over time the mind broods over the early self, aware of its assumed knowledge and little learning. This is evident in his critical reservations, which have a basis in reality. It is more than a paternal teasing. Justifiable irony is directed toward the youth—his self-importance, his lack-in-vision, miscalculations of his past self, and the self-created heroic meaning of his life. He does not excuse or justify his previous prejudices. The tone is rueful. The faultless certainty of youth blinded him to his own ignorance.
Alongside these remarks run others which are self-mocking in nature. As soon as there is disparity between expectation and reality, there is room for comic effect, humour, and the carnivalesque, in Bakhtinian terms, to function. The coltish self-destructive rashness and risk exact such a price, a mocking jibe. Marlow has not matched up to his cherished image of himself; there is a remonstrating voice of his conscience. Marlow is diminished into a caricature. The young moustache, icon of promising masculinity, is fittingly burnt off. Marlow subdues his pride, and acceptance of his self-image is progressively deconstructed.
The fire of his youth dies out slowly. They confirm the insight Marlow expresses at the outset of the narrative. His certainties are theirs. Their experiences bear the same imprint—the dramatic effect is not lost on them. Marlow is no more a young man of physical resources and adventure, but a reflective, commonsensical person—the outlook palled. His zeal for writerly narration, which is his confirmation that he exists, replaces his zeal for seafaring.
This is a point that seems to me immensely suggestive.
Marlow sees the two fictional texts in clear opposition; they pair the soldier and the philosopher. A Ride to Khiva is concerned with the travels and adventures of Army Captain Burnaby in central Asia undertaken in As the grown-up saw anew, his enthusiasm for Khiva has withered with time.
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We see his rejection of raw youth and construe the shift in the order of values in the following statement:. I remember my youth and the feeling that will never come back any more—the feeling that I could last for ever… the deceitful feeling that lures us on to joys, to perils, to love, to vain effort—to death; the triumphant conviction of strength, the heat of life in the handful of dust, the glow in the heart that with every year grows dim, grows cold, grows small, and expires. Further similarities in the thoughts and emotions of the two youths may be found.
Various passages in the narrative involve the value of work. Experience and the growth of insight have far distanced Marlow from his young romantic flourish, inaccurate judgments, and conscious subjectivity, and in a sense have classicized him. Such poetic style is the mark of the following oft-quoted passage from near the end of Bk. A sense of humanity is so conspicuous in the passage:.
The Lover whispers his mistress that the coach is ready; and she, full of hope and fear, glides down, to fly with him over the borders: the Thief, still more silently, sets to his picklocks and crowbars, or lurks in wait till the watchmen first snore in their boxes. Gay mansions, with supper-rooms, and dancing-rooms, are full of light and music and high-swelling hearts; but, in the Condemned Cells, the pulse of life beats tremulous and faint, and bloodshot eyes look-out through the darkness, which is around and within, for the light of a stern last morning.
Riot cries aloud, and staggers and swaggers in his rank dens of shame; and the Mother, with streaming hair, kneels over her pallid dying infant, whose cracked lips only her tears now moisten. Carlyle , 49— On the other hand, in these poetic flourishes one notes the paratactic listing of details and associations, vivid imagery imbued with energy matching the flow of felt sensation and impression. It is interesting to note, in passing, that playing with sound contributes to the oral dimension. Additionally, the style is answerable to the theme: typical fluidity and energy inherent in the syntax enact the adventurous liveliness within the events Marlow renders:.
Day after day and night after night there was nothing round the ship but the howl of the wind, the tumult of the sea, the noise of water pouring over her deck. There was no rest for her and no rest for us. She tossed, she pitched, she stood on her head, she sat on her tail, she rolled, she groaned, and we had to hold on while on deck and cling to our bunks when below, in a constant effort of body and worry of mind. This brings the narrative further in the direction of postmodern writing.
http://blacksmithsurgical.com/t3-assets/self/catharsis-a-new-world-book.php In a sense, this is consonant with the signified that the phrasing of the title Sartor Resartus signifies. The philosopher notes that suffering, frustration, and nothingness are the inevitable lot of man. I opened my eyes and lay without moving. Something out of life. He is an implement of the Will-to-Live within the intensity of his Will-motivated youth.