Modernist Novelists Were Making It New English Literature Essay

Extract 2: “ My undertaking which I am seeking to accomplish is, by the power of the written word to do you hear, to do you feel- it is, before all, to do you see. That- and no more, and it is everything. If I win, you shall happen at that place harmonizing to your comeuppances: encouragement, solace, fright, charm- all you demand- and, possibly, besides that glance of truth for which you have forgotten to inquire ” ( Joseph Conrad, ‘Preface to The Nigger of the Narcissus ‘ ) .

Modernist authors were mentioning to the historical crisis of the clip that was in one sense welcomed and on the other feared. Modernist authors were ‘making it new ‘ through “ scientific discipline, doctrine and linguistic communication with peculiar color and gusto ” ( Bradshaw et al, 2003, pp.1-2 ) . Through the mechanisms of covering with the ugly, the tabu, with what was hidden and out of sight modernist authors were doing it new. Heart of Darkness, The Return of a Soldier and Indissoluble Matrimony are great illustrations of both West and Conrad doing it new. These novels are concerned with narrative individuality, the societal and political society of the epoch and the emerging crisis of gender. West and Conrad were ‘making it new ‘ through these changeless displacements and the sense of uncertainness of cognizing and non cognize, and what we are seeking to see but unable to due to this undependable storyteller. This brought about a sense of ambiguity for the reader, nil is certain but one is invariably seeking for this concealed significance and truth. The Hagiographas of both West and Conrad help give us an “ apprehension of the cross-fertilisation of thoughts in this period ” ( Bradshaw et al, 2003, p.3 ) which was at the bosom of modernist authors.

Both West and Conrad are ‘making it new ‘ through Marlow and Jenny whom are undependable storytellers. This signifier of narrative leaves the reader uncertain of what is true and what is perceived to be true by the storyteller. It is this issue of uncertainness for the reader that is at the nucleus of modernist authors ‘making it new ‘ . From the beginning of Heart of Darkness we are instantly dislocated, we are unable to see and caught in the “ haze that rested on the low shores ” ( Conrad, 2008, p.103 ) , our vision is blurred from the start and like Marlow the reader excessively feels left in the “ dark ” ( Conrad, 2008, p.103 ) . As the storyteller continues the characters excessively become ill-defined. The accent of seeing and what ‘s seeking to be understood and told by this undependable storyteller can be seen through the motive of the fog. Here the reader like Marlow feels dislocated and frights what is approximately to go on. There is a delayed decryption which gives us the immediate feeling that we do n’t ever understand what we foremost see. They are under onslaught but Marlow perceives these “ pointers ” ( Conrad, 2008, p.149 ) as sticks winging about and he does n’t gain what is really go oning. Through the descriptive authorship we can about visually see that the ship is under onslaught but because of Marlow ‘s uncertainness we excessively are left unsure. Similarly Jenny ‘s narrative leaves the reader uncertain and it is merely through her flashbacks that the gradual truth of what is traveling on is revealed.

The “ light window ” ( West, 1980, p.187 ) through which Kitty and Jenny are imprisoned is the window in which these adult females try acquire a glance of what is go oning. Jenny describes Chris before he went to war “ he was so happy here ” ( West, 1980, p.19 ) but it ‘s non until the really end that Jenny certainties ‘ are crushed and shattered and she wonders “ why he wanted to bury this life ” ( West, 1980, p.165 ) and alternatively “ turn to Margaret with his huge trusting gesture of this loss of memory ” ( West, 1980, p.182 ) . Jenny lets us cognize what she is showing to us is what she “ think ( s ) … is the truth ” ( West, 1980 p.70 ) but might non really be. Through West taking Jenny as the undependable storyteller one can state this is her manner of demoing Jenny as the old maid who is dislocated from the household and who can merely descry “ from this I spied on him ” ( West, 1980, p.18 ) , she is marginalised, an foreigner looking in. Insoluble Matrimony is written from the 3rd individual storyteller and George is excessively similar to Jenny and Marlow as he portrays qualities of the undependable storyteller. We merely of all time see the other characters descriptions through George “ she had black blood in her ” ( West, 1914, p.1542 ) , she was a “ slattern ” ( West, 1914, p.1542 ) . These word pictures of Evadne by George can be perceived as green-eyed monster. He is non successful like Evadne but alternatively a “ hollow adult male ” similar to Krutz. Evadne independency and public speech production frustrates George because he wishes to hold control over her “ Evadne, you sha n’t talk! If you do I curse to God above I ‘ll turn you out into the streets ” ( West, 1914, p.1542 ) , nevertheless George knows he lacks the will power and strength to make so “ he licked his lips in fright and cowered for a minute ” ( West, 1914, p.1546 ) . Through West and Conrad ‘s composing we can about experience present with these storytellers and at times feel both consolidation and fright for the characters.

One of the major tabu topics brought about from the war and which West brought to visible radiation is the issue of the ‘shell daze ‘ soldier. For West “ the soldier brings place a disclosure about the war and the effects of war on the domestic scene ” ( Bonikowski, 2005, p.515 ) . West was prosecuting with issues that had n’t been dealt with and we can see a similar mental unwellness in Insoluble Matrimony. Here we get an penetration into George ‘s visions, his hallucinating and incubuss of Evadne which one can be associated with a mental unwellness. These psychological issues were mute and unheard of until modernist authors made such issues prevalent. George begins “ to fear matrimony as he feared decease ” ( West, 1914, p.1558 ) , one can comprehend his ideas at times as insanity “ he perceived with an insane certainty that she was traveling to run into some unknown lover ” ( West, 1914, p.1558 ) . George convinces himself of this and experience allow down and humiliated when he misreads her purpose. The realization that there is no criminal conversation and hence no divorce or flight from this matrimony leaves George to desire to kill Evadne. George desiring to kill Evadne can be perceived as a more emotional psychological job, similar to blast daze, but for George it ‘s the masculine qualities which his married woman portrays that brings about this insanity, and non the injury of war which is witnessed in The Return of a Soldier.

The phenomenon of ‘shell daze ‘ absolutely changed the apprehension of mental unwellness. Chris the soldier brings “ strangeness… into the place ” ( West, 1980, p.54 ) on his return. Just like Chris experiences this injury it is besides experienced from the place forepart. On Chris ‘s return he has forgotten who Kitty is and this leaves her emotionally withdrawn “ like a broken doll ” ( West, 1980, p.125 ) . The absence of this soldier at the beginning as both Kitty and Jenny are “ wishing for a return of a soldier ” ( West, 1980, p.13 ) shows complete sarcasm towards the terminal where Chris ‘s traumatic returning leaves him experiencing more absent so earlier. Chris is “ like a unsighted adult male waiting for his darkness to raise ” ( West, 1980, p.125 ) . The “ house is different ” ( West, 1980, p.54 ) for Chris it has been massaged into something different to which he feels he does n’t quite fit any longer. The power of the written has brought this mental unwellness to visible radiation. For The Return of a Soldier it makes us experience and see the deductions of ‘shell daze ‘ as a whole for those at the frontline and those who urgently wait at place for their return merely to recognize they “ did non affair ” ( West, 1980 p.151 ) .

Although Conrad wrote Heart of Darkness pre war there is elements of Krutz physical impairment that can be seen as him portraying elements of a mental unwellness. His last words “ The horror! The horror! ” ( Conrad, 2008, p.178 ) can be seen as Krutz speaking about the horrors of his life. The extent of Krutz mental unwellness can be seen as “ he is creeping on all 4s ” ( Conrad, 2008, p.172 ) through the grass, he is non strong plenty to walk and does n’t gain the “ danger in its right proportion ” ( Conrad, 2008, p.173 ) . Krutz is non mentally stable and his mental impairment in bend makes him endure physically, he is decelerating deceasing. For West as an writer of this epoch to compose about such issues she was “ interrupting unwritten codifications that required a adult male to be autonomous, aggressive and unemotional ” ( Humphries, 2010, p.531 ) . Although Conrad is composing pre war there are still marks which one can comprehend as Krutz holding a mental unwellness. In the terminal these victims are forced “ to endure in isolation and silence ” ( Humphries, 2010 p.532 ) like George and Chris nevertheless in the terminal some end up dead like Krutz.

West shows how this period became a possibility for adult females through Evadne in “ Insoluble Marriage ” . One can see that West presents Evadne as a strong, independent adult female, a public talker. Evadne is described as a warrior. West touches on as she defeminises Evadne:

“ at that place entered into her the crude adult female who is the expletive of all adult females: a animal of the most arrant feminineness… that was her virtuousness… she would hold killed him at one time, had his minute non come a 2nd before hers ”

( West, 1914, p.1547 )

West is interrupting the feminine conventions that we associate with adult females and exposing masculine qualities by Evadne desiring to “ kill ” ( West, 1914, p.1547 ) George. Evadne feels she is “ meant to contend ” ( West, 1914, p.1547 ) otherwise autumn quarry to George and expose the interior failing of been defeated. Evadne is non as strong and independent as one perceives, in the terminal she retreats and backs down from her male superior. This can be interpreted as Evadne been “ afraid of adult male ” ( West, 1914, p.1547 ) . Evadne ‘s “ thrifty wont of turning off the gas ” ( West, 1914, p.1553 ) can be seen as her manner of responding against George ‘s perceptual experiences of her. She will be portion of the populace sphere but will besides stay feminine and keep onto the domestic qualities associated with adult female. West gives an penetration into Evadne who on one manus interruptions free from these traditional functions but whom in the terminal will ever stay domesticated for the interest of her hubby. Although West is composing in the modernist era The Return of a soldier like “ Insoluble Marriage ” shows West still exposing the qualities of the traditional female. In the terminal we see that it is George and non Evadne that dominates the matrimony through his maleness he holds the physical power. Both Jenny and Margaret are imprisoned in this large house ; they are defined by their upper category position. It is this upper category that leaves George resenting Kitty, she is the “ idealised adult female who is an object of worship because of the ( male ) economic success that she represents ” ( Mackay, 2003, p.133 ) . Kitty is the merchandise of capitalist economy she is like “ a miss on a magazine screen ” ( West, p.11 ) and in the terminal “ beautiful adult females of her type lose ” ( West, 1980, p.154 ) merely like she loses George. George despises this mercenary universe and feels more affiliated to Margaret, the ordinary female who is “ detestably furred with disregard and poorness ” ( West, 1980, p.25 ) . Both Jenny and Margaret are contained and their imprisonment can be witnessed through their changeless spying and seeking to see what is go oning. They wait uneasily for the return of Chris to happen as Jenny describes

“ me merely as a forgotten playfellow and Kitty non wholly save as a alien but who had somehow go a cosmetic presence in his place and the orderer of his repasts, he let us cognize wholly where we were ”

( West, 1980, p.133 )

West defines adult females ‘s functions in these three lines. Jenny is a playfellow isolated from society and merely comes to gain this through the disclosures of the novel. Kitty is merely a cosmetic presence something to be admired, looked at but non person to be intimate with. Kitty is above all the orderer of Chris ‘s repasts and nil else to him. These adult females are pushed aside and undermined, they do n’t hold a say in what is go oning. Chris is the dominant male he lets them cognize it ‘s his place. He is dominant but yet he is besides dependent on females to be cured. Similarly in Herat of Darkness adult females are excluded from imperium merely like Jenny and Margaret are excluded by Chris. Womans are been described as been “ out of truth with world ” ( Conrad, 2008, p.113 ) but it ‘s this exclusion from society which disables them from seeing what is world. In the terminal Marlow decides to continue the truth from the Intended “ I could non state her. It would hold been excessively dark-too dark raw ” ( Conrad, 2008, p.186 ) . Marlow continuing the truth can be seen as his compassion for the agony Intended, he knows that uncovering the truth will go forth her like a broken doll and unable to transport on. For the work forces in these novels the ideal adult female “ is a speechless, mindless statue. This combination of exposure and virginity makes for a conventional icon of desirable muliebrity ” ( Mackay, 2003, p.130 ) .

Through Conrad and West narrative technique the it has enabled us to experience and to hear but at times we are withheld from the truth, unable to see until finally the connexions are made and evoke the readers ‘ senses.