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Nature The Overwhelming Force Corrupting Human's Soul. Comparison Of Heart Of Darkness And Lord Of The Flies.

1616 words - 6 pages

The world surrounding man has always affected his inner world. This is the reason why writers often introduce certain elements of nature to evoke some feelings in the reader and to create a specific atmosphere of their works. The heritage of romanticism makes people treat nature as a positive force in any literary work. The situation in Heart of Darkness and Lord of the Flies is just opposite. The Rousseauian concept of man's return to nature as the only way to recover humanity is overturned in the works of Conrad and Golding. They express the subconscious fear of the dark forests as the greatest enemy of culture returning to the Anglo-Saxon idea of the hostile world outside the human civilization. Both writers assume that the contact with the wilderness wakes up the dark instincts hidden, under the layer of culture, within the depths of human soul. Glassman says that the jungle causes a fever to white men or "drives them mad" (204). Heart of Darkness and Lord of the Flies share some elements which manifest the conviction of the hostility of nature.
In both works the surrounding world is oppressive and sticky. The events take place in some tropical and savage part of the world - it is either Congo or an inhabited island lost somewhere in the vastness of an ocean. The atmosphere is consciously build of small details:
" The silence of the forest was more oppressive than the heat and at this hour of the day there was not even the whine of insects.Only when Jack himself roused a gaudy bird from primitive nets of sticks was the silence shattered and echoes set ringing by a harsh cry that seemed to come out of the abyss of ages." (Golding 53)

We spot here the main characteristic of the tropical forest - an apparent silence and overwhelming heat. Jack seems to be an intruder who breaks into the ancient realm of the jungle. The stillness is not calm but having the quality if the nervous waiting for something which not clearly defined but its shadow hangs somewhere between the branches and thick leaves. Similarily in Heart of Darkness Conrad explores the same idea:
" The edge of a collossal jungle, so dark green as to be almost black, fringed with white surf, ran stright, like a ruled line, far, far away along a blue whose glitter was blurred by a creeping mist. The sun was fierce, the land seemed to glisten and drip with steam. Here and there grayish-whitish speck showed up clustered inside the white surf, with a flag flying above them perhaps - settlements some centuries old, and still no bigger than pinheads on the untouched expanse of their background." ( Norton 1841)

Here the jungle is reigning over the traces of human inerference. The expressions: "collosal" and "untouched expanse" manifest the vanity of man's efforts to tame the wilderness. The edge of the jungle in the eyes of Marlow looks like a boiling pot of water. Everything is full of moist whose presence is seen even from the deck of the ship quite far from the shore. It is the promise of...

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