In Conrad's "The Lagoon," single out some of the lines that demonstrate the flowing, rhythmic quality of his prose.Joseph Conrad, a major English storyteller, famed for Heart of Darkness and Lord...

In Conrad's "The Lagoon," single out some of the lines that demonstrate the flowing, rhythmic quality of his prose.

Joseph Conrad, a major English storyteller, famed for Heart of Darkness and Lord Jim, was a Pole who learned the language and literature of England from his father, a poet and a translator of Shakespeare. At the age of sixteen, he became a seaman. For twenty-one years, the sea was his life and his love. Single out some of the lines in "The Lagoon" that demonstrate the flowing, rhythmic quality of his prose.

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Karen P.L. Hardison | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

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There are of course varying opinions of Conrad's prose style. Some critics would call it stagnant and cloying instead of flowing and rhythmic. However, a careful reading of "The Lagoon" can isolate what those who tend to the flowing and rhythmic opinion would point out as demonstrative of this stylistic quality.

Right at the beginning of the story, a descriptive passage setting forth the surroundings may be well categorized as flowing and rhythmic:

At the end of the straight avenue of forests cut by the intense glitter of the river, the sun appeared unclouded and dazzling, poised low over the water that shone smoothly like a band of metal. The forests, sombre and dull, stood motionless and silent on each side of the broad stream. At the foot of big, towering trees, trunkless nipa palms rose from the mud of the bank, in bunches of leaves enormous and heavy, that hung unstirring over the brown swirl of eddies.

These descriptive sentences rhythmically flow one into the other with ease. The first sentence addresses the "avenue of forests" providing an overview of the landscape, which is interrupted by the "glitter of the river." The second sentence establishes the mood of the landscape, a mood derived from specifics and particulars: "somber and dull ... motionless and silent." The third sentence narrows the focus of the rhythmic flow of prose to individual trees and leaves that draw the focus even tighter by showing the leaves as "unstirring over the brown swirl of eddies."

Incidentally, a section that might point out the opposing opinion of Conrad's prose occurs just prior to the one discussed above:

The white man, leaning with both arms over the roof of the little house in the stern of the boat, said to the steersman ...  The Malay only grunted, and went on looking fixedly at the river. The white man rested his chin on his crossed arms and gazed at the wake of the boat.

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