Compare and Contrast  Lord Jim and Heart of Darkness.Compare and Contrast  Lord Jim and Heart of Darkness.

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Since the topic is wide open, I think you need to be ready for a variety of approaches to it.  One particular striking feature that can be shown side to side is how Conrad deals with the notion of "the captain."  In Heart of Darkness, the role of the captain is one that represents confidence and complete certainty.  Even when Kurtz has descended into insanity, there is confidence in what he is doing and the that the path he has chosen is the right one.  Marlow's journey might have been set with so much peril and difficulty, but he really never wavers in his commitment to find Kurtz and in his mission.  Both leaders are strong of mind, certain in their path, and almost one- dimensional in their need to complete what must be done.  Jim, from Lord Jim, is not the same type of captain.  He is riddled with self- doubt and pangs of insecurity.  While he is technically proficient, he lacks that confidence, the inspirational force that is able to inspire others, and most of all, himself.  Jim is unable to reconcile his moment of indecision and cowardice with his dreams in pursuit of a naval captaincy.  It is here where some contrasting visions of captaincy are offered in Conrad's two works.

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