Marlow’s Debut Role As Narrator In Joseph Conrad’s Youth

2652 words - 11 pages

Story telling has been a means of communicating a point of view by a novelist to his readers and also of handing down tradition, folklore and culture. A story originates in the mind of an individual as he/she gives shape to his perception of an experience weaving the magic of his/her narration. A narrator brings to life images that excite the imagination of his/her listeners, enabling them to create a world which is inhabited by the characters of his/her stories which are not only meaningful, but serve to emulate human experience itself.
In every narrative there is a hidden narrator. A narrator is either a first person narrator or a third person narrator… “First person narrative means writing from the “I” point of view…Third person narrative form is writing from the omniscient point of view…Second person is the least-used form in novels, mainly because it usually reads more awkwardly”…(Harper 2004 ,1). Occasionally, one comes across a second person narrator as well, in which he narrates from the ‘you’ point of view. The reader sees the world that the novelist portrays through the narrator and after having read a novel, he returns to reality: ‘we might substitute for our own life an obsessive reading of novels, or dreams based on novelistic models’ (Bakhtin, 32). The novelist creates a situation which appears to be real and he also creates characters that are "free people, capable of standing alongside,"(Bakhtin 6)
A novelist may allow the narrator to have more knowledge than that of an ordinary person and he may even limit the knowledge that he allows the narrator to have. He may use a single source of information which is personified as the narrator or he may use a source of information which is less specific. Joseph Conrad’s narrator, Marlow is an individual who is able to create the necessary connection between the novelist and the reader. Joseph Conrad used Marlow, a character he created, in order to narrate his powerful stories. Conrad depended on his experience as a seaman in order to write his novels. In order to maintain distance from the narrative and so that he did not intrude into the narrative, he invented the character of Marlow. Conrad adopted British citizenship as well as the life and ways of England, and also made valuable contributions to English literature: “Conrad was a Polish mariner who wrote in English. Hence most of his tales have a surface structure of telling a tale of exploration and voyage (Peters 105).
Conrad’s novels exhibit the idea of personal honour which is essential to man’s existence wherein a character defends himself through his actions. Conrad took recourse to the character of Marlow in order to voice his own feelings. His stories of the sea, the jungle, and the social and political instability of mankind and the innermost workings of the human heart are commentaries on and reflections of his own life and varied experiences. Conrad’s early experiences set the pattern of his life and provided themes...

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