Winter's Bone Analysis

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Conrad’s novella Heart of Darkness, and Granik’s movie Winter’s Bone all involve a central, heroic figure, who throughout the story is shaped by the absence of a central figure. In Heart of Darkness, Conrad writes about the hero Marlow, and his journey to track down the elusive Mr. Kurtz. Along the way he witnesses countless atrocities, and after his return he realizes how trivial most people’s struggles in the Western world tend to be. Similarly, Winter’s Bone also revolves around a hero, but in this case she is searching for her father, who was not present at court. This initiates the main conflict, as the government will seize her family’s house and land if he doesn’t show up for court shortly. We see her take on responsibility for leading…show more content…
The return journey begins as Marlow sets aboard the steamer with Kurtz, as Kurtz is very ill and must be quickly transported back to Europe to survive his illness. Unfortunately, the steamer breaks down along the way, resulting in a significant delay for the passengers. Marlow describes the extent of the breakdown as “an infernal mess of rust, filings, must, bolts, spanners, hammers, ratchet-drills - things I abominate because I don’t get on with them.”(69) Kurtz is aware of the delay and realizes that he may not be able to return in time for proper treatment. Marlow notes “This delay was the first things that shook Kurtz’s confidence”(68). The reader sees Kurtz’s diminishing confidence as he remarks “I am lying here in the dark waiting for death”(69). His final words “The horror! The horror!”(69) express his final recognition of humanity’s depravity and lack of self control. Marlow, also wrestling with death at the same time, recognizes the significance of Kurtz’s final judgement and remarks “If such is the form of ultimate wisdom, then life is a greater riddle than some of us think it to be. I was within a hair’s breadth of the last opportunity for pronouncement, and I found with humiliation that probably I would have nothing to say. This is the reason why I affirm that Kurtz was a remarkable man. He had something to say.” (70) After the death of Kurtz, Marlow finds himself “back in the sepulchral city resenting the sight of people hurrying through the streets to filch a little money from each other, to devour their infamous cookery, to gulp their unwholesome beer, to dream their insignificant and silly dreams” (70). Through his use of adjectives such as “filch” and “devour”, he depicts those back home as short-sighted and
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