Visual Imagery In Joseph Conrad's Heart Of Darkness

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The motion picture, Arrival, written by E. Heisserer and directed by D. Villeneuve, depicts the story of a translator, named Dr. Louise Banks, and her job translating alien messages for the United States government. Heart of Darkness is a novel, written by Joseph Conrad, about a man, Marlow, who travels to the Congo to find ivory and meet the famous ivory collector, Mr. Kurtz. By comparing and contrasting these two stories, one can see the problems and benefits of using visual imagery versus using real images. Using visual imagery takes away the opportunity for readers to interpret the work in an unbiased way, however, it also provides a new perspective for the readers to see the story through. On the contrary, using visual storytelling forms…show more content…
The viewers are not aware where these flashes are coming from or if they are in the past, the future, or just made up entirely. This means the viewers experience the same feelings of frustration and confusion as Louise may be feeling, without having Louise tell them how to feel. By using visual images to depict these scenes, there is no need for any character to narrate them to tell the reader what is happening. This allows the readers to get a less biased perspective of each scene. In contrast, the written word of Heart of Darkness creates clearly subjective viewpoints of what is happening to Marlow. On page 3, Marlow says, “The water shone pacifically; the sky, without a speck, was a benign immensity of unstained light; the very mist on the Essex marsh was like a gauzy and radiant fabric, hung from the wooded rises inland, and draping the low shores in diaphanous folds,” (Conrad, 1899). This description of the water and the sky are very detailed and the words have strong connotations to show how Marlow feels about them. Specifically, “pacifically” is a strong word showing how peaceful the water seems to Marlow. If Marlow had, instead, written, “the water was bright,” the phrase would have the…show more content…
In Arrival, when Louise Banks first listens to the recording of the Heptapods, her voice conveys a lot about how she is feeling in the moment. When she says, “How many speaking?” her voice quivers and she pauses frequently (Villeneuve & Heisserer, 2016, 00:12:30). This reveals her feelings of nervousness as she learns about the Heptapods. She also uses the word “um” a lot and stutters a little when saying “how,” (Villeneuve & Heisserer, 2016, 00:12:30). This shows the audience how anxious and uncomfortable Louise is at hearing about and from these creatures. While this moment is rather short, it reveals a lot about the difference in how imagery in text versus images in film are portrayed. In text, Louise might have seemed more confident than she really was, because the text would not have been able to describe her nervous pauses and trembles. The text could have described her nerves through imagery, but without actually seeing her and hearing her voice, it would be challenging to understand her level of anxiety in this moment. When Louise talks to the Heptapods and asks them who the girl is she has been seeing in her memory flashes, they respond by writing, “Louise sees future,” (Villeneuve & Heisserer, 2016, 01:31:38). She says nothing, but her facial expression after she reads this tells the
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