Explore the theme of danger in Blood River and Heart of darkness Essay

‘Abandoned’ ‘blind’ ‘darkness’ ‘challenges’ ‘overwhelmed’. These five words are the best words in both of these extracts do describe what is happening in both texts. The first noticeable thing in both extracts Blood River from page 216 to 218 and heart of darkness 48- 50, is the link of the theme of danger to the settings being used in both texts.

Evidence of this is in heart of darkness when the text says” the night came suddenly and stuck you blind” ‘it seemed unnatural” ‘ a white fog, very warm and clammy, more blinding than the night’, ‘very loud cry, as of indefinite desolation’. In contrast blood river also says ‘ the Congo’ ‘flicker of lightening’ ‘angry looking clouds’ ‘limbs all folded together for warmth like the blades on a Swiss army knife’. So the instant direction of attention is to the settings of both of these texts, both characters were in dangerous situations faced with challenges that were overwhelming.

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From the beginning of the heart of darkness extract which is from page 48, the theme of danger is emphasised straight away by the linguistically features. The first hint of danger in the extract is when the extract says “the night came suddenly, and struck you blind” also in the next sentence danger is shown when is suggest “as though a gun had been fired”, these two quotes are instantaneous examples as one is of a gun being fired and another a metaphor referring to being ‘struck blind’.

Similarly to blood river on the third line of the extract in page 216 the theme of danger arises when the text says ‘towns were abandoned and the boats left to rust’ and ‘abandoned by the outside world’ these are two good examples of danger because in one it speaks of abandoned towns and the other of boats left to rust, in comparison the heart of darkness quotes are more powerful links to danger. My extract also instantly demonstrates pathetic fallacy because even the environment reflects danger, this is shown when the extract says “a white fog very clammy and more blinding than the night. Another reference to the pathetic fallacy shown in the text is when the text refers to “the immense matted jungle” and In a jungle there is always danger. The text also speaks of a ‘very loud cry, as of infinite desolation’ and ‘opaque air’. All these lexical choices clearly refer to danger, this is certainly the way the reader would receive these linguistic choices. This extract is clearly negative as it emphasises danger which can only be negative.

This danger is clearly being emitted by the ‘clammy’ ‘mist’ in the environment, as the text goes on to speak about ‘intolerably excessive shrieking’ and then from that to ‘excessive silence’. The use of ‘Good God’ in my extract suggest danger straight away as people only as that as a result of shock or disbelief at something happening. Marlow is the one narrating in this extract; he is speaking about being on the boat traveling along the Congo River. There is a variety of examples of direct and indirect speech.

Most of the extract of Marlow speaking is indirect speech mostly, however the examples of direct speech is such as “I went forward and ordered the chain to be hauled in short, so as if to be ready to trip the anchor and move the steamboat at once if necessary” Not only is this direct speech but again relevant to the theme of danger in the general extract as Marlow readies the steam boat as if to almost escape, this is proven when the extract says ‘Will they attack? and ‘We will be butchered in this fog’ These indirect speeches emphasise there is a massive sense of fear and danger in this extract, there is now even relative fear of death too. There is a variety of language and phrases that emphasise the genre of the novel, which include motifs such as exploring, travel, danger and the unknown. A good example of this is on page 50 when Marlow speaks about the ‘chaps’ he had met and he thought they would be ‘growing increasingly hungry’ and because they had been ‘engaged’ for ‘months’ they would have no ‘clear idea of time’.

This shows further Marlow and the other characters have ventured into the unknown as they meet people who have even lost track of time itself. Further emphasis of motifs of the novel is when Marlow says ‘Certainly they had brought some rotten hippo meat’ foods like this can only be thought about when you’re abroad or in the wild. Then the use of the word ‘Pilgrims’ in the next sentence is clear evidence of explorers, as pilgrims are people who normally go on a purposeful journey, mainly religious ones.

The perfect example to me in this extract of the motif of the wild and unknown is when Marlow says ‘You can’t breathe dead hippo walking, sleeping and eating, and t the same time keep your precarious grip on existence’. Although there is a massive sense of irony in this indirect speech, Marlow still shows and suggest thing that can happen in the unknown such keeping your ‘grip on existence’. In summary throughout the whole extract from page 48-50, there are so many linguistic choices and reference to danger, the unknown and exploring and even death at times.

The whole extract is based on Marlow just speaking about travelling along the Congo River, speaking about the ‘Clammy fog’ around and always portraying to the environment and his experience through his eyes and at times the fear of other characters through their own. At times it seemed a ‘muted’ environment as communication was often ‘whispered’ and the Marlow speaks of ‘excessive silence’ as a result of the fear. Danger is portrayed and emphasised from the very beginning till the end of the extract.