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What is the function of the frame material in "Heart of Darkness"? Who starts...

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judythatsme | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted November 4, 2008 at 10:11 AM via web

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What is the function of the frame material in "Heart of Darkness"? Who starts and ends the tale?

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ms-mcgregor | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted November 4, 2008 at 11:34 AM (Answer #1)

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The general purpose of a frame story is to add different perspectives to the narrative. In "Heart of Darkness", for example, the third narrator gives the reader another perspective on Kurtz. This allows the reader to decide which story is the most credible since some of the details are contradictory and can lead to various interpretations. Other frame stories such as "Frankenstein" also use this same device. Having more than one narrator makes for a much more complex story which can have many different meanings. Thus the author can include much more depth to his or her themes and explore the characters in greater detail.

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