Literature and movie provender at the same chest. sing the affinities between them. Since its really get downing. Hollywood has used plants of fiction as beginning stuff for movies. One of the most discussed versions is Francis Ford Coppola’s Film Apocalypse Now ( 1979 ) based on Joseph Conrad’s fresh Heart of Darkness ( 1902 ) . This paper compares and contrasts these plants of art. reasoning that while there are obvious differences. the movie by and large general remains true to the nucleus significance of the novel. One can state that Coppola’s movie is a thematic and structural parallel to Conrad’s novel.

Differences On the surface it seems that Apocalypse Now deviates mostly Heart of Darkness. The differences can be seen in scenes. events. characters. and other snippings of information such as quoted lines and unusual actions of the major characters. The scenes of the two narratives are different and written in different periods of clip. The scene of Conrad’s late 19th century novel is the Belgian Congo in the 1890s. By contrast. Coppola’s 1979 movie takes topographic point in Southeast Asia in the 1960s during the Vietnam War.

In add-on. the fresh centres on Charles Marlow. a British crewman employed by a European trading company as captain of one of their steamboats. whereas the movie focuses on an American ground forces officer. Benjamin Willard. Another major difference is that the tusk bargainers are in the Congo of their ain greed and free will. whereas the American soldiers are drafted into Vietnam and prosecute in the war against their will. At the first glimpse. there seem to be character differences in the novel and movie – Copolla’s Willard is nil like Conrad’s Marlow.

In the novel. Marlow is really eager to run into Kurtz and possibly derive cognition about the secrets of the tusk trade in the former Zaire. On the other manus. Willard seems to hold a decease want. Copolla portrays Willard as a down homo. holding a soldier’s slayer inherent aptitude. throughout the full movie. The effectivity of point of position besides differentiates the novel and the movie. While it is true that Willard remains on the screen more than anyone else in Apocalypse Now. and his remarks are frequently heard on the film’s sound path. viewing audiences still do non see others wholly from his position as readers do in Heart of Darkness.

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Hence. the movie is robbed of some of the emotional strength that one feels when one reads the novel. This is merely because the storyteller in the novel communicates his subjective reaction to the episodes from the yesteryear. In the movie. the audience does non hold on the extent to which the storyteller is deeply affected by Kurtz’s calamity. Many of Marlow’s sage contemplations about Kurtz’s life and decease are absent in the movie. Furthermore. while Coppola successfully creates a astonishing experience of the war’s lunacy. he seems to confound the moral issues.

This is possibly because of his position of personalising the novel. The manager identifies so strongly with Kurtz that he modifies the issue of power and disturbs the delicate balance between Conrad’s narrative and the topic of Vietnam. Apocalypse Now succeeds in doing its viewing audiences experience the horror of the war and to recognize their ain complicity in it. but it fails to foreground the nature of Kurtz’s horror illuminated in Heart of Darkness. Coppola’s failure to unite Conrad’s narrative and the Vietnam War in this regard points mostly to The film’s version of Kurtz.

In the novel. Kurtz is corrupted by his isolation in the wilderness. ensuing in an compulsion with power and unfolding awful truths about himself: I think it had whispered to him things about himself which he did non cognize. things of which he had no construct boulder clay he took advocate with his great solitude-and the susurration had proved overwhelmingly intriguing. It echoed aloud within him because he was hollow at the nucleus. ( 133 ) in the movie. Coppola tries to vibrate Kurtz’s “hollowness” by holding the character recite The Hollow Men by T. S. Eliot.

But this can be seen as more of an symbolic solution that does non somewhat applies in the Vietnam War context. Analogues While the scenes. backgrounds. characters. and attacks of the novel and movie are someway different. the narrative. construction. and that subject are similar. The undermentioned paragraphs sum up some of the indispensable analogues between Conrad’s Heart of Darkness and Coppola’s Apocalypse Now. In the novel. Marlow introduces his narrative with a transition about “devotion to efficiency” . the thought behind how the ivory trade makes net income. warranting barbarous development ( Kinder 16 ) .

This statement is besides applicable to the Vietnam War context as they are both in the phases of Western imperialism: The conquering of the Earth. which largely means the taking it off from those who have a different skin color or somewhat flatter olfactory organs than ourselves. is non a pretty thing when you look into it excessively much. What redeems it is the thought merely. An thought at the dorsum of it ; non a sentimental pretension but an thought: and an unselfish belief in the idea-something you can put up and bow down earlier. and offer a forfeit to. ( 70 )

Coppola does non retain this address in the movie. but it becomes the basis for the dramatic events that unite Kurtz and Williard: the former’s relation of the vaccination narrative and the latter’s slaying of a hurt Vietnamese adult female. The two are driven into a state of affairs in which “military efficiency is wholly undermined. yet they have been trained to idolize it and to internalise it as the beginning of their ain personal pride” ( Kinder 16 ) . In the novel. although Kurtz embodies all of Europe. he can be viewed as a “universal genius” who shows what lies in front for those who take the challenge to look into the abysm.

Despite the defects in the handling of Kurtz. Copolla’s construct of movie remains a consummate work that complements the power of Conrad’s vision. The novel and the movie embody the subject of insanity and lunacy and insanity caused by the immorality of imperialism. Madness in the novel is the consequence of being removed from 1s normal environment and how people cope with their new environment. The same subject is explored in the movie. Many soldiers who are drafted into Vietnam are hardly 18 or 19-year-olds. Their mental stableness is shaken when they are thrown into a rough environment. where their lives hang on by the minute.

Soldiers such as Lance and Chef are ready to snarl at any minute due to the daze and realisation of what sort of state of affairs they are in or what is the intent of contending fellow work forces. They besides fear the fact that they do non cognize where they are headed. Copolla and Conrad literally and metaphorically face the lunacy and insanity brought about by Western imperialism and colonialism. Through Kurtz and the American soldiers. Copolla is able to portray what war is like for them. and why so many of them suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. The movie suggests that wars are an imperialist tool that drives the weak into their devastation.

On the other manus. Conrad exposes how the imperialist docket leads to the development of foreign lands and its people. go forthing the imperialist agents themselves deranged and empty ( Papke 583 ) . Both the novel and the movie besides give rise to a race treatment. Conrad and Coppola portray White work forces as the dominant. They non merely regulation over their several crews ; they besides dominate the local peoples. Marlow and Willard look at the native people as if are the barbarous civilization and White work forces are the civilised 1. But it is interesting to observe that each of the two chief characters see a small of himself in Kurtz. a degenerated barbarian White adult male.

Coppola’s take on Conrad’s Heart of Darkness has gained much attending from movie bookmans. In “The Power of Adaptation in ‘Apocalypse Now’” . Marsha Kinder states that “Coppola seldom hesitates to alter Conrad’s story-setting. events. characters-whenever the alteration is required by the Vietnam context. ” ( 14 ) Furthermore. the duologues in the movie. particularly Willard’s voice-over narrative. have been attacked by several movie critics for sounding more like a lampoon of writer Raymond Chandler than an version of Conrad’s novel. But a deeper expression suggests that Willard’s character and tone are non intended to be Marlow’s.

To accommodate the Vietnam context. Willard has been wholly transformed into a trained bravo. whose life has been drained of all significance. Coppola retains Conrad’s focal image of the river. In the movie. merely as in the novel. each of the chief characters embarks on a actual and metaphoric cardinal journey. Marlow’s description of the Congo is an tremendous serpent uncoiled that fascinates him as a serpent would a bird. The film’s construction is controlled by the image of the river “that snaked through the war like a chief circuit overseas telegram. ” transporting Willard to Cambodia.

The novel and the movie Begin with the protagonists’ account of how they got the assignment which necessitated their jaunt upstream. Marlow is dispatched to steam up the Congo in to happen Mr. Kurtz. while Willard is mandated to travel up the Mekong River in a navy patrol boat to happen Col. Kurtz. Furthermore. while they travel up a primeval river to carry through their several assignments. they speculate about the character of the adult male they are seeking. with the aid of the information they have pieced together about him.

In both fresh and movie. the river finally leads Marlow and Willard to Kurtz and his deceasing words of horror ( Kinder 15 ) . This concluding finish for both work forces is their soul-altering confrontation with Kurtz. Overall. it is an expedition of find into the dark bosom of adult male. It is besides a close brush with man’s capacity for immorality. Coppola agrees with this observation and stated that he besides saw Willard’s ocean trip upstream as a representation for the journey of life that people take within themselves and during which they decide which side to take: good or evil.

The horror of the universe dominated by hollow work forces is at the centre of both Heart of Darkness and Apocalypse Now. Kurtz. in his god-like acousmatic voice and morally terrorizing manifestation. is invested with much illustriousness: He to the full understands being in all its repulsion. Repelled and terrified Kurtz pushed himself to travel into the very bosom of darkness. to to the full prosecute in the dualism ( good and evil ) of Bing. To name Kurtz heroic or predatory or good or evil. is to lose the point wholly. He is everlastingly shaped by a dark satori. by an apprehension of the ubiquitous nature of darkness.

Marlow and Willard are arguably Kurtz’s religious boies. and they experience the same realisation. Both of them look full face at the great disapprobation. at the dark obscureness of Being. Each of them faces moral panic in the form human behavior forced beyond nice bounds ; and each of them is deeply transformed by this experience. In her book. Double Exposure: Fiction Into Film. Joy Could Boyum states that “in replacing Willard for Marlow. a lunatic for a sane one. ” Coppola creates a character incapable of “any daze of acknowledgment. ” a adult male unable to “know evil when he sees it” ( 114 ) .

Boyum besides argues that there is no find for Willard ; he is a “murderer facing a slaying. a madman face to confront with madness-it sums merely to a tautology. ” Thus. Copolla’s Apocalypse Now can be argued as a film that has no moral centre. Unlike Willard. Marlow returns from the river experience with integral moral position and saneness. ask foring the reader’s trust and designation. But one can besides state that. like Apocalypse Now. Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. itself. is a novel that has no moral centre. The book suggests that Marlow’s great realisation is that being itself has no moral bosom.

The character has non sustained the river journey with his integral moral position unchanged. Towards the terminal of the novel. Marlow is a transformed adult male. mostly stray and really different from those people aboard the Nellie. He is alienated everlastingly in his wisdom. Willard. excessively. in the terminal. is immensely separated by his new cognition. While many critics see Willard as immoral. insane. and unchanging. Kurtz’s position of him is more fitting. In the movie. Kurtz describes Willard when he sees him for the first clip as “an errand male child sent by food market clerks to roll up a measure.

” But in the terminal. Willard becomes wiser. He has been transformed. humbled by his face-to-face confrontation with the darkness natural in Kurtz. in himself. in being. Therefore. the separate narratives of Willard’s and Marlow’s river experiences follow a similar narrative form and arrive at a similar truth. Apocalypse Now is a thematic and structural parallel to Heart of Darkness. This is possibly because. Copolla. in his auctorial wisdom. to the full understood that subject and technique. significance. and construction are inseparable entities. To state a narrative otherwise is to state a different narrative.

It seems that. finally. Copolla and Conrad tell the same narrative. Decision This paper looks at the differences and correspondences between Conrad’s Heart of Darkness and Coppola’s Apocalypse Now. In comparing and contrasting the novel and the movie. this paper suggests that the movie has some important divergence from the novel. Despite this. nevertheless. Apocalypse Now by and large remains true to the nucleus of Heart of Darkness. Both the novel and the movie follow the same narrative line but Conrad and Copolla have different ways of showing this narrative. This consequences in surface differences.

But a deeper and closer reading of both the novel and the movie reveals that they complement each other. This is one of the most of import things in accommodating a work of literature into a movie. Works Cited Boyum. Joy Gould. Double Exposure: Fiction Into movie. New York: Universe Books. 1985. Conrad. Joseph. Heart of Darkness. New York: New American Library. 1950. Kinder. Marsha. “The Power of Adaptation in ‘Apocalypse Now’” . Film Quarterly 33. 2 ( 1979-1980 ) : 12-20. Papke. David Ray. “Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness: A Literary Critique of Imperialism. ” Journal of Maritime Law and Commerce 31. 4 ( 2000 ) : 583-592.


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