Joseph Conrad: Three Novels: Heart of Darkness, The Secret Agent and The Shadow Line

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Soon he learns of his mistake and realizes that captain Giles was only looking out for him by discovering a job opportunity that would otherwise have been hidden from him. However, soon the protagonists says to captain Giles that the man who tried to hide the job from him the steward might be mad- for would risk losing his job to get rid of a minor nuisance?

When the protagonist arrives to claim his ship, he learns that his predecessor was positively mad. During his voyage, he grows assured that Mr.

Joseph Conrad: Three Novels

Burns is mad as well. Finally, the protagonists doubts his own sanity. Charma- one might say. When you accuse everyone of madness, you get accused yourself. All in all, I found all that talk about madness fascinating, perhaps because I liked the way in which the sanity was at times questioned. I felt like Conrad was aiming at something more, making us question ourselves.

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You can see the protagonist slowly maturing. When the protagonist first beholds the ship, he acts like an enamoured schoolboy. Was that the cause of his perhaps rushed departure from port? There is one character that is somewhat of an ideal- the character Ransome. I was thinking how perhaps Ransome is presented as an ideal of a mentally stable man. Under extreme pressure, he remains calm. His calmness has a profound impact on our protagonist- the captain.

At one point in the novel, he risks his life-is it an act of nobility or madness? Where is the line? Similarly, is the crew mad to trust the captain? Is the captain mad to trust the crew? Is he mad to trust himself? As I said, sanity is examined in an interesting way.

It is not directly talked about, but during that inferno journey in particular, one gets to see a fascinating exploration of human psychology. In addition, because of the shortness of the book, they are not described in great detail.

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Nevertheless, a few of them do stand out. Captain Giles, for example, serves both as an initiator of the plot and the one to end it. Burns and Ransome are important characters as well. These other crew men do make the story seem more credible and add to the atmosphere, but they are not independent characters as such. On overall, I would say that Conrad managed to portray his characters very well, developing them as the story progressed. As to the protagonist of the novel, I felt that by the end of the story he was a well-rounded character- a lot sadder, but also a lot wiser.

I wonder, though, what is our narrator confessing to? What does he felt guilty for? Something he should have perhaps thought of, but is it really something he should feel so guilty about? As a captain he should have taken better care of his crew and not be so restless to get HER to the sea- or is it really a combination of all of these things? I suppose he had as much to regret as the next man.

Joseph Conrad: Three Novels: Heart of Darkness, The Secret Agent and The Shadow Line

You will find absolutely convincing descriptions of life at sea. There are few writers who write so eloquently about the sea. In this novel, descriptions of the sea and life on board are spot on. The narrator compares himself — the captain with a monarch. He maintains that a captain must appear like a monarch, a God sent figure to the sailors- because they do not understand the process by which the company elects one.

I found that really interesting, especially in the latter context of the story. The first officer Mr. Burns apparently wanted to become a captain himself- whether from ambition or simply because he by that time felt responsible for the ship is unclear. There is a bit of struggle for dominance between the two. Our protagonist commands the men- the ultimate responsibility is on him. Our protagonists is literally responsible for their lives.


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The relationship between the crew and the captain can be a metaphor for the balance of power but even on its own it is very interesting to observe. The narrator himself admits that when Mr. Burns pleaded with him to take him on for the sake of his wife and kids, he felt nothing- but when Burns addressed him as a fellow seaman, he was moved into action. The narrator showed no wish of getting married in the novel actually thought it was a bizarre notion , perhaps because he married to his true love- the sea. I was honestly moved by the way narrator describes being nervous as a lover when he was going to see HER- a ship he was to command.

In retrospective, there might be some symbolism there. So, you can find the metaphorical Eve, sort of speak. Still, basically, it is a novel without female characters. In other words, if you struggled with his other works or even gave up on reading him, perhaps this is a good choice for you.

It is not a difficult read as it comes with a fairly simple plot, but at the same time, it is profound enough to challenge your brain cells. I absolutely feel that it is one of those books that can offer you multiple readings. Thirdly, if you are a Conrad fan, they you should read it just because. It may not be the best or the most profound thing written by him, yet it is definitely worth reading.

For when a good story meets with excellent writing, you do get something noteworthy. It is so well written that I deem this novella worthy of a five star mark. Every sentence seems to matter and the timing throughout the novel is pretty much perfect. The characters are interesting and well portrayed.

One gets to know them more through their actions and thoughts, then through long descriptions, though.

There is that quality of timelessness that I love about his works. As brief as this novel was, I still had that priceless feeling of glancing into human souls- and what more could a girl ask for? May 08, Lyn rated it really liked it. The Shadow-Line by Joseph Conrad describes that demarcation line in the journey of life that divides the happy, bright, fantastic and irresponsible youth with the darker ages of manhood.

One of his better stories also because he includes comic elements as well and this tragicomic delivery helps to soften his usual dark themes. Apr 15, Bruce rated it it was amazing. The narrator has suddenly resigned a comfortable position as mate on a ship, apparently resigning what he acknowledges is a good position in a fit of vague malaise, a sense of inexplicable dissatisfaction, intending to book passage home to England. Abruptly, the position of master of another ship becomes available and is offered to him, and just as abruptly and unexpectedly he accepts, concluding Chapter I.

Joseph Conrad: Three Novels - Norman Page - Macmillan International Higher Education

There is a sense of foreboding, an ominous tenor, as the first half of the book draws to its end. And, as if things could not get worse, as the ship is becalmed and the crew sickens, what was considered an adequate supply of quinine is found to have been adulterated or stolen. Burns, the ill first mate who was with the previous captain, believes that the spirit of the dead is haunting them and leading them to their doom. Everything that can go wrong seems to be occurring. Only the allegedly fragile and everlastingly placid and helpful cook, Ransome, seems to be of aid to the captain, always assisting in every way possible, beyond the call of his own duty.

Ransome reminds me of Ransom, the hero of C.

The Shadow Line by Joseph Conrad - Audiobook

Free download available at Project Gutenberg. Wells, Stephen Crane, D. Lawrence, John Galsworthy, Joseph Conrad pens this fictionalized autobiography, which, for the most part is going to be difficult if not impossible to describe. Were I able to tell you, however, you would have the sense of it in the same way that you experience a fly buzzing the ether unseen. Every page a gift. This book is about a young captain who is ha Joseph Conrad pens this fictionalized autobiography, which, for the most part is going to be difficult if not impossible to describe.

This book is about a calm sea with not a sigh of a wind to move the ship. And, even though Conrad himself tells us this story is not about the supernatural, a curse and the first captain who died before Conrad took command, tells us otherwise.