Light and Darkness, Ups and downs, creative and critical questions

Life is full of hills and dales; of rises and falls. Sometimes throughout this journey called life I have been on the pinnacle, the absolute peak of the highest mountain. I have also been down in the lowest valley, or crossing the harshest desert. Right now, some students would call me “over the hill”, I think they mean it in terms of years I may have left. Although in the 25th Anniversary speech given by one of the heads of the Melbourne school recently, she told the students to imagine 50 years down the track when our grandchildren would come up to us and say they have just enrolled in ACU. Well, if I have grandchildren in 50 years time, it would be an absolute miracle! First, it would make me 102, and second it means that science has finally developed a way for men to conceive; although I don’t think this is something that my partner Sam would aspire to, (he is allergic to pain).

At the moment, I see myself on a straight path, not too many obstacles in my way. I have a new goal or summit to reach. I have clear plans on how to get there, and with hard work, once again I will be placing my flag at the top of a mountain, saying “I have been, I saw, I conquered”.

The Magnolia trees are blossoming

while across the road the wattle is in full bloom

The temperatures are rising

Warmer days but still freezing cold nights

One less blanket on the bed

Evidence that the gloom of winter is not forever

I have not watched Apocalypse Now but I have read Heart of Darkness. I have a difficulty comparing the two, but the question was to “Find out why Coppola decided to create a contemporary film version of Heart of Darkness”.  “In one interview, Coppola described his film as “an experience that would give its audience a sense of the horror, the madness, the sensuousness and the moral dilemma of the Vietnam war” (Malcolm, D., 2004). This would suggest that Coppola wanted Americans to see what the horror of war was actually like, to awaken them to the real world. Most Americans wake to the smell of coffee in the morning but some “love the smell of napalm in the morning”.Apocalypse Now (1979) Poster

Conrad in writing Heart of Darkness wanted to accurately depict the Congo and life beyond the comforts of “The greatest city in the world”. Life was not all a bed of roses, but sometimes life is harsh.

When I first started to read the article on the Guardian site, written by Derek Malcolm, I wondered how the scare of the natives by the steam whistle of the ship would translate into film of war in Vietnam. Mr Malcolm demonstrated that Coppola used  “Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyries, broadcast over loudspeakers to scare the enemy” (Malcolm, D., 2004). Did this really happen in the war? or is it artistic licence by Coppola?

Reading the article made me realise that there is so much more to just watching a film, It is not always for entertainment but a recreation of an admired art by the director or the writer. The Girl with the Pearl Earring painting by Johannes Vermeer must have so moved  author Tracy Chevalier to write about her, and then director Peter Webber to make a movie about her.

It reminds me for my own purpose to paint, to take photographs, and to write; that is to share the beauty of the world with those who have difficulty seeing it for themselves. This is similar to Conrad’s opinion of what an artist should do, in his Preface to The Nigger of the Narcissus. Conrad, J., 1896, pp 1949-1951)

Conrad, J, (1896) found in Greenblatt, Stephen. The Norton Anthology Of English Literature. New York: W.W. Norton, 2012. Print.

Malcolm, D.,

google search; the girl with the pearl earring .

I’m glad that this week some people agreed with me that the story Heart of Darkness is a difficult read. The language is remarkable, eloquent and amazing for one whose first or even second language is not English. His use of punctuation keeps the story flowing, just as the river is flowing in the narration of the story, and unlike the river Thames which in the story is becalmed.

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Filed under 20th Century Literature

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