What is the connection of The Force that Through the Green Fuse and The Heart of Darkness?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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One of the central ideas behind this complex and philosophical poem is the way in which man is intimately part of the created order and is united with it. However, what is interesting about this poem is the repetition of the phrase "And I am dumb" at various points throughout the poem, which indicates the way in which the speaker, although he has experienced this epiphany, finds it impossible to express or share it with others around him. Although the speaker knows he can claim a kinship with the rose and stream because he is a part of the same cycle, he is unable to communicate to them, and is even unable to share this understanding with his own body:

And I am dumb to mouth unto my veins
How at the mountain spring the same mouth sucks.

Although the poem expresses the central idea that the universe is merely one continuum, each individual person remains an isolated person.

One point of comparison we could identify therefore with Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad is the way in which Marlow identifies universal lessons from his encounter with Kurtz that he seems to be similarly unable to express to others, most namely the Intended. Note the way that through his relationship with Kurtz, Marlow gains some understanding of the depth of human depravity and evil. However, although he reveals this to his audience on the boat where he tells the story, he finds himself unable to communicate it to a key person: Kurtz's Intended. This perhaps echoes the themes of isolation and epiphanies that are unable to be communicated as we see in this brilliant poem.


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