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A comparison of joseph conrads heart of darkness and apocalypse now by francis ford coppola

Since its very beginning, Hollywood has used works of fiction as source material for films. This paper compares and contrasts these works of art, arguing that while there are obvious differences, the film generally general remains true to the core meaning of the novel. Differences Film and Literature: How fast would you like to get it?

We'll occasionally send you account related and promo emails. On the surface it seems that Apocalypse Now deviates largely Heart of Darkness. The differences can be seen in settings, events, characters, and other snippets of information such as quoted lines and strange actions of the major characters. The settings of the two stories are different and written in different periods of time.

Another major difference is that the ivory traders are in the Congo of their own greed and free will, whereas the American soldiers are drafted into Vietnam and engage in the war against their will. In the novel, Marlow is very eager to meet Kurtz and perhaps gain knowledge about the secrets of the ivory trade in the former Zaire. On the other hand, Willard seems to have a death wish.

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The effectiveness of point of view also differentiates the novel and the film. Hence, the film is robbed of some of the emotional intensity that one feels when one reads the novel.

This is simply because the narrator in the novel communicates his subjective reaction to the episodes from the past. This is perhaps because of his view of personalizing the novel. In the novel, Kurtz is corrupted by his isolation in the wilderness, resulting in an obsession with power and unfolding frightening truths about himself: I think it had whispered to him things about himself which he did not know, things of which he had no conception till he took counsel with his great solitude-and the whisper had proved irresistibly fascinating.

It echoed loudly within him because he was hollow at the core. But this can be seen as more of an emblematic solution that does not somewhat applies in the Vietnam War context.

  • The differences can be seen in settings, events, characters, and other snippets of information such as quoted lines and strange actions of the major characters;
  • Both the novel and the film also give rise to a race discussion;
  • Oxford University Press Inc;
  • In the novel, Marlow is very eager to meet Kurtz and perhaps gain knowledge about the secrets of the ivory trade in the former Zaire;
  • They are both comfortable in leadership positions; Willard was a captain in the army, Marlow was the captain of the boat he took up the river to find Kurtz and transport the ivory;
  • It is important to note that even though there are slight distortions, the film preserves essential scenes and meanings from the book.

Parallels While the settings, backgrounds, characters, and approaches of the novel and film are somehow different, the narration, structure, and that theme are similar. This statement is also applicable to the Vietnam War context as they are both in the stages of Western imperialism: The conquest of the earth, which mostly means the taking it away from those who have a different complexion or slightly flatter noses than ourselves, is not a pretty thing when you look into it too much.

What redeems it is the idea only. An idea at the back of it; not a sentimental pretence but an idea: The novel and the film embody the theme of insanity and madness and insanity caused by the evil of imperialism. Madness in the novel is the result of being removed from ones normal environment and how people cope with their new environment.

The same theme is explored in the film. Many soldiers who are drafted into Vietnam are barely 18 or 19-year-olds. Their mental stability is shaken when they are thrown into a harsh environment, where their lives hang on by the minute.

Soldiers such as Lance and Chef are ready to snap at any moment due to the shock and realization of what kind of situation they are in or what is the purpose of fighting fellow men. They also fear the fact that they do not know where they are headed. Copolla and Conrad literally and metaphorically confront the madness and insanity brought about by Western imperialism and colonialism. Through Kurtz and the American soldiers, Copolla is able to portray what war is like for them, and why so many of them suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome.

The film suggests that wars are an imperialist tool that drives the weak into their destruction. On the other hand, Conrad exposes how the imperialist agenda leads to the exploitation of foreign lands and its people, leaving the imperialist agents themselves deranged and empty Papke 583.

Both the novel and the film also give rise to a race discussion. Conrad and Coppola portray White men as the dominant.

Similarities and Differences Between Heart of Darkness and Apocalypse Now Essay

They not only rule over their respective crews; they also dominate the local peoples. Marlow and Willard look at the native people as if are the savage culture and White men are the civilized one. But it is interesting to note that each of the two main characters see a little of himself in Kurtz, a degenerated savage White man. To suit the Vietnam context, Willard has been totally transformed into a trained assassin, whose life has been drained of all meaning. In the film, just as in the novel, each of the main characters embarks on a literal and metaphoric central journey.

Marlow is dispatched to steam up the Congo in to find Mr. Kurtz, while Willard is mandated to journey up the Mekong River in a navy patrol boat to find Col. Moreover, while they travel up a primeval river to fulfill their respective assignments, they speculate about the character of the man they are seeking, with the help of the information they have pieced together about him.

In both novel and film, the river eventually leads Marlow and Willard to Kurtz and his dying words of horror Kinder 15. This final destination for both men is their soul-altering confrontation with Kurtz. Overall, it is an expedition of discovery into the dark heart of man.

  • Kurtz, while Willard is mandated to journey up the Mekong River in a navy patrol boat to find Col;
  • They are both comfortable in leadership positions; Willard was a captain in the army, Marlow was the captain of the boat he took up the river to find Kurtz and transport the ivory;
  • It is important to note that even though there are slight distortions, the film preserves essential scenes and meanings from the book;
  • When Marlow found Kurtz, Kurtz had been changed;
  • An idea at the back of it; not a sentimental pretence but an idea:

Kurtz, in his god-like acousmatic voice and morally terrifying manifestation, is invested with much greatness: He fully understands existence in all its repugnance.

Repelled and terrified Kurtz pushed himself to go into the very heart of darkness, to fully engage in the dualism good and evil of Being. To call Kurtz heroic or rapacious or good or evil, is to miss the point entirely. He is forever shaped by a dark satori, by an understanding of the omnipresent nature of darkness.

Both of them look full face at the great condemnation, at the dark obscurity of Being. Each of them faces moral terror in the shape human conduct forced beyond decent limits; and each of them is profoundly transformed by this experience.

In her book, Double Exposure: The character has not sustained the river journey with his intact moral perspective unchanged. Towards the end of the novel, Marlow is a transformed man, largely isolated and very different from those people aboard the Nellie. He is alienated forever in his wisdom. Willard, too, in the end, is vastly separated by his new knowledge.

He has been transformed, humbled by his face-to-face confrontation with the darkness natural in Kurtz, in himself, in existence. Apocalypse Now is a thematic and structural analogue to Heart of Darkness. This is perhaps because, Copolla, in his authorial wisdom, fully understood that theme and technique, meaning, and structure are inseparable entities. To tell a story differently is to tell a different story.

It seems that, ultimately, Copolla and Conrad tell the same story. In comparing and contrasting the novel and the film, this paper suggests that the film has some significant deviation from the novel. Despite this, however, Apocalypse Now generally remains true to the core of Heart of Darkness.

Both the novel and the film follow the same story line but Conrad and Copolla have different ways of presenting this story.

This results in surface differences. But a deeper and closer reading of both the novel and the film reveals that they complement each other. This is one of the most important things in adapting a work of literature into a film.

Works Cited Boyum, Joy Gould. New American Library, 1950. Need Help Papke, David Ray. A Literary Critique of Imperialism.