Within every individual, there lies a unique set of innate, fundamental principles upon which further truth is built. However, from the moment a precious parcel of tissue sheltered in a mother’s womb tastes the sweet nectar of life, society truths immediately seize the opportunity to morph the child to their likeness. The characters within Barbara Kingfisher’s Poisoned Bible and Joseph Concord’s Heart of Darkness vividly illustrate various milestones in the internal struggle between conflicting truths, revealing through honest, uncensored commentary the precarious nature of deep-seated war.
Through its depictions of the polar and intermediary phases within humanity internal battle between truths, Poisoned Bible and Heart of Darkness reveal how truth is not a concrete concept but a continuum of constant reflection and redefinition. The climactic rise and fall of Kurt and Nathan Price typifies the destructive, insidious force of society’s truth upon the human soul. Signs of Kurt’ troubled state litter Marrows initial days at the Central Station. While admiring an agent’s artifact collection, Marrow stumbles upon a small sketch “representing a woman, draped and Lind-folded, carrying a lighted torch” (Conrad 122).
Kurt’ revelatory painting of the “sinister” looking woman engulfed in darkness clearly reflects his struggle with forging ahead on the continuum of truth (Conrad 122). Unfortunately, the constant praise of his peers, who regarded Kurt as a “remarkable person” (Conrad 1 15), “exceptional man,” (Conrad 1 19), “a prodigy’ (Conrad 122), coupled with the unbounded freedom of the Congo, creates a severe superiority complex within him, grinding his continuum to a halt.
Once on his knees, the European imperialist mentality effectively crushes Kurt’ inner principles: “it had taken him, loved him, embraced him, got into his veins, consumed his flesh, and sealed his soul to its own” (Conrad 147). In Poisoned Bible, Nathan Price also falls prey to the superiority complex, fearing no one but God Himself. Like Kurt, his family willingly submitted to his unhinged mentality, “swallowed by Antenna’s mission, body and soul” (Kingfisher 198). Unlike Kurt, however, Nathan arrives at the Congo already spiritually defeated.
Although he was miraculously spared from the Bataan Death March, Nathan comes mom with “a suspicion of his own cowardice from which he could never recover” (Kingfisher 197). With the Holy Word of God in his hands and the pagans of the Congo at his disposal, Nathan Price preaches as if he had “a bone to pick with this world” (Kingfisher 213) blinded by the crippling, concrete truths of institutionalized Christianity. Jaded by life’s circumstances, Kurt and Nathan Price hold fast to society truth in the hopes of earning its forgiveness.
However, Quartz’s fulfillment of the imperialist creed inadvertently places him visit-Г¤-visit with an uncomfortable truth: his inadequacies. Nathan Price’s shortcomings also reveal themselves in the midst of his the men further into the soul’s tempests, dismantles their innate truths, and leaves them completely vulnerable to the onslaught of society. Without light, without reflection, without fundamental truth, Kurt and Nathan Price tumble in the continuum of truth and into destruction. In the midst of Kurt and Nathan Price’s destruction, Marrow and Orleans Price survive society tribulations and remain on the continuum of truth.
Before meeting Kurt, Marrow possessed a strong sense of self: “l always went on my own road and n my own legs where I had a mind to go’ (Conrad 104). More importantly, he felt secure with his fundamental truths, noting his ardent stance against lying in the opening chapter: “There is a taint of death, a flavor of mortality in lies- which is exactly what I hate and detest in the world” (Conrad 124). As Marrow grows more knowledgeable about Kurt, however, he soon compromises his ideals for the man he “did not see. (Conrad 124) In a conversation with a typical first-class officer at the Central Station, Marrow directly contradicts his inner truth and lies “simply because I ad a notion it somehow would be of help to that Kurt” (Conrad 124). His first breach of fundamental truth opens a Pander’s Box of progressive uncertainty and darkness upon Marrow. The advantageous Congo Jumps on the looming darkness lurking in Marrows soul, “its mysterious stillness” (Conrad 132) expediting its degeneration. By the time Marrow reaches Kurt’ Inner Station, the Congo had skewed his psyche, convincing him of the irrational grandiose aura surrounding Kurt.
However, upon witnessing the destructive “powers of darkness” (Conrad 147) consume Kurt; Marrows fright saves him from crossing the point of no return. Nevertheless, an admiration for Kurt had infused itself in Marrows foundation, expressing his sentiment after Kurt’ death: “l was within a hair’s-breadth of the last opportunity for pronouncement, and I found with humiliation that probably I would have nothing to say. This is the reason why I affirm that Kurt was a remarkable man. He had something to say. He said it” (Conrad 171). Orleans Price also found herself momentarily consumed by the radical rhetoric of her husband Nathan Price.
Like Marrow, Orleans initially possessed a strong foundation of innate truth, ardently leveling in not the Holy Scripture, but the “miracles of passionate nature” (Kingfisher 193). Although Nathan “could not let go the subject of heaven” during their courtship (Kingfisher 194), Orleans saw him as “a world of flattering attention” and, true to her spirit, the prospect of their marriage “a chance to cross the county line” (Kingfisher 195). After Antenna’s harrowing war experience, Orleans “encountered her old spirit less and less” (Kingfisher 200).
The condescending and abusive nature of his new-found fundamentalism seriously cripples Orleans spirit: He finally bought me a Mayday washer. I rested in this peace and called it happiness. Because… That’s how a life like mine was known” (Kingfisher 201). Only after the death of her youngest daughter in the Congo does Orleans Price find her voice again. Like Marrow, however, society’s onslaught leave deep scars on Orleans foundation, forever darkening her perspective on mankind: “l trusted too long in false reassurances, believing as we all want to do when men speak of the national interest, that it’s also ours.
In the end, my lot was cast with the Congo. Poor Congo, barefoot Marrow and Orleans Price’s momentary loss of innate truth stemmed from several uncontrollable factors. First, both protagonists find themselves in the midst of a totally alien environment. In both Heart of Darkness and Poisoned Bible, the Congo lacks the most basic necessities that Westerners Marrow and Orleans Price take for granted. The adversity involved in daily survival did not merely reveal, but stripped any semblance of a fade protecting the innate truths sheltered in Marrow and Orleans heart.
The vulnerability caused by the Congas revelatory nature opens he door for the second factor to take effect: Kurt’ and Nathan Price’s broken foundations. Although both held an inkling of Kurt’ and Nathan Price’s inner turmoil, Marrow and Orleans did not fathom the actual depth of society’s destruction upon their counterparts’ souls until they found themselves slowly degenerating as well. Despite the powerful opposition, both persevere on their continuous of truth through small, but powerful acts. Orleans finds fleeting moments of happiness in the Congo amidst nature: “Companionship and Joy came unexpectedly…
A kiss of less-colored sunrise while I hung out the wash, a sigh of indigo birds exhaled from the grass. ” (Kingfisher 384) Marrow maintains his truths by relinquishing Kurt’ possessions upon his arrival to Europe. Yet, the third factor seriously hinders Kurt and Orleans Price from easily moving through their respective continuous of truth: guilt. Marrow suffers from the ignorant perspective of Kurt’ Intended, never to know the true physical, spiritual, and psychological darkness in which her fianceГ© died in.
Orleans struggles to grapple with the loss of her youngest child Ruth May, blaming ere death on her inability to leave Antenna’s dictatorial rule. Although both Marrow and Orleans Price still carry heavy burdens on their continuous of truth, both know that their guilt is but a keyhole; reflection, a hand; forgiveness, the key. While Marrow and Orleans Price slowly traverse into their hearts’ depths to uncover truth’s enlightenment, Kurt’ Intended and Lea Price reach the pinnacle of their continuum and grovel in the sweet nectar of innate truth.
Finding her fundamental principles within Kurt, the Intended remains “illuminated by the inextinguishable eight of belief and love” without regard to the divisive realms of space and mortality (Conrad 176). Marrows return to civilization, however, strongly emphasizes the stark contrasts between the Intendeds naive, cosmopolitan perspective and his own tainted mentality: “l found myself back in the sepulchral city resenting the sight of people…
They were intruders whose knowledge of life was to me an irritating pretense, because I felt so sure they could not possibly know the things I knew’ (Conrad 179). Despite his resentment and scorn, he could not utter the words of criticism against Kurt’ Intended. Marrow represents the sole tangible link between her existence and her truth’s demise, transforming into a beacon of spiritual understanding and nourishment for Kurt’ Intended: “She seemed ready to listen without mental reservation, without suspicion, without a thought for herself” (Conrad 173).
The Intendeds naked grief for Kurt’ death reveals to Marrow the depths to which she based her innate truth upon him, leading Marrow to make a pivotal decision in the preservation of the woman’s foundation: “The last word he pronounced was-your also displayed similar emotion towards her father Nathan Price. Placing him at the center of her very existence, Lea takes every opportunity to absorb her father’s teachings, believing that her “father would know what was best in the sight of the Lord” (Kingfisher 182).
As the internal “great holy war” compromises Nathan Price’s logic, Lea finds herself in an internal ordeal of her own: “For the first time in my life I doubted his Judgment” (Kingfisher 243). Leash’s rapidly failing belief in her “rock of certainty’ (Kingfisher 244) drives her into the arms of the caring, intellectual, faith- deprived Anatoly. Through Antenna’s neglect and Neonate’s inadvertent cultivation, Lea slowly shifts her fundamental truths from the radical Christian dogma of Nathan Price to the practical philosophies of the Congolese schoolteacher.
The lingering filaments of Leash’s heart clinging to Nathan Price abruptly sever with the biting reality of Neonate’s words: “Don’t expect God’s protection in places beyond God’s dominion” (Kingfisher 309). Engulfed in the chaos of Nagoya, Lea “felt the breath of God grow cold” (Kingfisher 309-310). Although both women successfully uncovered a lesson that most fail to discover in a lifetime, the similar innate truths chosen by Kurt’ Intended and Lea Price improvises their self-identities through the God-like glorification of a mere human being.
During his visit to her manor, Marrow observes the fierce fervor in which the Intended spoke about her late fianceГ©e: “She talked as thirsty men drink” (Conrad 176). Lea Price also “became thrilled by’ her father’s brief moments of approval (Kingfisher 77). The father-daughter relationship between Lea and Nathan Price, however, carried implications due to Antenna’s absent fundamental truth and blatantly apparent superiority complex. Likewise, Kurt’ Intended knows nothing of the imperialist truths that inflated his ego and consumed his soul. Therefore, her ignorance at the time of Kurt’ death preserves “all his promise… Al his greatness, his generous mind… His noble heart” (Conrad 177). In essence, Kurt’ death immoralities him in the eyes of the Intended, never to falter for the rest of time. Lea, however, experienced the adverse effect in her devotion to Nathan Price. Because of the Congas tendency to strip away any existing spiritual safeguards, Lea witnesses her father’s shortcomings with clarity for the first time in Killing. Leash’s seemingly sound fundamental truth transforms from a father who “understands everything” (Kingfisher 66) to a “simple, ugly man” (Kingfisher 368).
Nonetheless, the instinctual inclination to base her fundamental truth upon another’s shoulders prompts Lea to simply shift her devotion to Anatoly and redefine herself in accordance to his beliefs. Leash’s Journey of blind devotion, reflection, and redefinition epitomizes the core of the individual’s perpetual continuum of truth. Kurt’ Intended is robbed of such an opportunity. Although Marrow deceived Kurt’ Intended “for the salvation of another soul,” Marrow entraps her in a fundamental truth no longer conductive to spiritual growth.
The idealistic portrayal of Kurt further perpetuated by Marrows lie effectively denies the Intended an opportunity to leave behind the invalid innate principle and progress on the continuum of truth. Despite their differing destinies, Kurt’ Intended and Lea Price overcome their afflictions and lift themselves out of the ashes with the token of truth in hand. Provide lenses into the raging internal struggle between fundamental principle and society truths in relation to the perpetual continuum of truth. Kurt and Nathan Price dramatically illustrate the cost of surrendering innate truth: death.
Marrow and Orleans Price captured the essence of a soul in steady, but burdened progression and redefinition. With a small, small sigh of “l have survived” as the only clue to their acquirement of the small parcel of grandiose fundamental truth, Kurt’ Intended and Lea Price emerge from the turbulent surroundings at the pinnacle of their continuous of truth. Although the sweet nectar of life is accompanied by the powerful pressures of society’s truth, Conrad and Kingfisher affirm the strength of the individual’s fundamental principles in the face of society’s toughest concrete truths.