Heart of Darkness vs. Apocalypse Now Essay

Heart Of Darkness Vs Apocalypse Now Essay

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In the article, “Narratological Parallels in Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness and Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now” Linda Costanzo Cahir compares and contrasts both the novella and the film. Both writers had the same theme and meaning in mind, but their structure and technique was what made the stories different. In both the novel and the film, we see the central character (Marlow or Willard) as a man drastically altered by a past experience. Each story begins with the main character explaining how he was appointed to take the journey up the river. Both Marlow and Willard made three unscheduled stops with the crew. The third stop being the “soul-altering confrontation with the mysterious Kurtz” (Cahir 1). Although the plot is the same, the stories are different. Not only in the way they are told, but also in the way the main character endures the excursion. Linda Costanzo Cahir speaks about the “recording eye.” The narrator serves as the “recording eye” in Heart of Darkness. Being invisible only between the teller and listener, the narrator sees what is going on and reports back to the reader. We see what the narrator sees just as we see what a camera sees. The narrator controls what we hear and see at all times. Apocalypse Now is a more contemporary version of Heart of Darkness, retold through a camera. “Coppola’s camera retells Benjamin Willard’s tale” (2). We see everything through the eye of the camera. Another similarity between the two stories is the audience. Either by book or my film, this story is being told to someone. In Heart of Darkness, the narrator is telling the story to the other people on the boat, while in Apocalypse Now, Willard is telling the story to the audience. “Like Chaucer’s Pilgrims, Conrad’s character (in this frame portion if the story) are identified by their professions only ;and they, too, passed the time in storytelling” (3). I really like the way Cahir compared Conrad’s characters to Chaucer’s characters. The Lawyer -the best of old fellows -had, because of his many years and many virtues, the only cushion on deck, and was lying on the only rug. The Accountant had brought out already a box of dominoes, and was toying architecturally with the bones… The Director, satisfied the anchor had good hold,
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