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Presence of Evil

  • Date Submitted: 06/08/2011 12:44 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 60.2 
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Presence of “Evil”
in The Turn of the Screw and Heart of Darkness
Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness and Henry James’s The Turn of the Screw are both centred upon the threatening presence of an obscure “evil”. However this presence of evil is not defined clearly in the both story even at the end. These nouvelles finish with ambiguities.  
The reader perceives evil by the way of characters perspective who were the only witnesses of evil like Marlow or Governess. These witnesses force us to look closely at their psychology which shaped the story. As stated by Hana Wirth-Nesher we never sufficient information to truly analyze character, and although we recognize that there are indeed “doubles” we cannot identify them clearly. As readers we oscillate between Governess’s maternal excessive fondness and her dangerous behaviours up to endangering the children.   She decided to protect them from the influence of evil at the cost of the innocent’s life. According to her the innate innocence of children possessed by ghost and need to rescue. “If he had been wicked he would have ‘caught’ it, and I should have caught it by the rebound – I should have found the trace, I found nothing at all, and he was therefore an angel.” Like Governess, Marlow feels himself as a rescuer. He also tries to protect innocence of Kurtz. With his words “All Europe contributed to the making of Kurtz,” Marlow shares the responsibility of the making of Kurtz as a European. He follows Kurtz when he was marching in the deep of forests. This time darkness encounters Marlow like ghosts of Bly. Marlow catches Kurtz and carries to the boat.

Both Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness and Henry James’s The Turn of the Screw are a highly compact piece of writing containing an inner story within an outer frame. In Heart of Darkness, the outer frame separates from the inner story sharply. Marlow recalls his memories and tells his friends on the ship Nellie, and in the heavy air of river such as the “mournful,”...

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