解读小说《礁湖》中的环境描写 An Analysis of the Settings in Lagoon毕业论文
Joseph Conrad has a prominent position in the history of British literature and is a pioneer of British modernist novels. He is best at writing ocean adventure novels and jungle novels. Though “The Lagoon” is not very famous, as Conrad’s another exploration of the darkness in human mind, it is considered as the abbreviation of Conrad’s well-known novel Heart of Darkness. In “The Lagoon”, Conrad is good at using jungles and other original scenes and special social circumstances to explore the hidden darkness and evil in human nature. The novel tells the story of the protagonist Arsat who talks with his friend the white man in flashback about his betrayal of the Rajah and his brother, flees to the isolated lagoon.
This paper focuses on the study of the environment in “The Lagoon”. The description of the natural environment in the novel concentrates on the dark and silent forests as well as the stagnant and isolated lagoon. The depiction of these natural scenes is not only the mapping of the hero’s psychological change, but also symbolizes the darkness and death of human nature. The social environment of the novel mainly refers to the Rajah system and the inequality under the system. The influence of these inequalities of the society has caused the protagonist Arsat’s loneliness and alienation. The description of the natural environment and the social environment demonstrates the author’s exploration of the subject of the darkness of human mind.
Key Words: the lagoon; natural environment; social environment; darkness of human nature
1 Introduction 1
1.1 Joseph Conrad and His Works 2
1.2 Literature Review 3
2 Natural Environment in The Lagoon 4
2.1 The Dark and Silent Forests 7
2.2 The Stagnant and Isolated Lagoon 9
3 Social Environment in The Lagoon 10
3.1 The Society Prevailing the Rajah System 13
3.2 The community of the Lagoon 15
4 Conclusion 16
An Analysis of the Settings in The Lagoon
1.1 Joseph Conrad and His Works
Joseph Conrad is a Polish-British writer, who can be seen as a modernist but there are elements of 19th-century realism in his works at the same time. Conrad, a pioneer of British modernist novels, has a prominent position in the history of British literature. He was born in the upper class in Poland in 1857, then fled to France. He acquired native polish and French as a child but learned English by himself in his twenties, fabulously became the world-renowned writer in English. He stated in his preface to A Personal Record that writing in English was for him “natural”. Conrad inherits the experiment and reform of English novels started by Henry James. His works are not only known as impressionism, but also shock people’s minds with their tragic qualities. He believes that moral discovery should be the goal of every story and stresses the pain of losing dignity. He is best at writing marine adventure novels. Chinese writer Lao She calls him the greatest creator of realm and personality in modern times. Apart from imperialism and colonialism, he also prefers to profoundly explore the human psyche. His works include novels(marine novels and jungle fictions), short stories and essays. For example, The Nigger of the ‘Narcissus’ （1897）and Typhoon（1902） are created from his sailing experience. Heart of Darkness （1899）and Lord Jim（1900）are representatives of jungle fictions that discuss the issue of human soul and morality, with profound social and historical content. The examples of social political essays are Nostromo （1904）and Under Western Eyes（1911). “The Lagoon” (1898) is Conrad’s first short story and “An Outpost of Progress”(1897) is described as the best story by Conrad.
“The Lagoon” is one of Joseph Conrad’s short stories. It’s easy to relate it with Conrad’s another famous work Heart of Darkness, an exploration of the depths of human minds. “The Lagoon” is another one but its location moves from Africa’s Congo River to the Asian Malay jungle, and the main characters change from the European colonial pioneers to the native Malay. Nevertheless there are commons in Africa images and Malay images, through reading Wang jian’s paper that studies the African images in Conrad’s novel(Wang, 2015). In the story, the hero Arsat tells his friend the white man his dark past, when he betrays the Rajah and elopes with the Rajah’s wife’s servant Diamelen. His brother helps them escape from the pursuit of the Rajah. However, Arsat abandons his brother and flees with his lover without turning back even though he calls Arsat three times. Then, they situates around the stagnant and isolated lagoon, but Arsat is always living in guilt and pain. At last, Diamelen dies and Arsat decides to revenge for his brother out of guilt and love. There are many symbols of its settings that disclose Arsat’s spirit conflict and changes.
1.2 Literature Review
In foreign countries, the research on Joseph Conrad mainly focuses on his masterpiece Heart of Darkness, while the research on the short story “The Lagoon” is comparatively limited in its quantity. Researches on the settings of “The Lagoon” are fewer. Searching on Ebsco, there are 3 results. Several researches involves “The Lagoon” in comparative essays in terms of the embodiment of Modernism, Impressionism and Colonialism in the novel. (Ficham amp; Attie De Lange, 2001). In 2013, Chifane analyzes the variety of narrative techniques used by Conrad to highlight the problematics of marginalization in “The Impact of Marginalization in Joseph Conrad’s Tales and Novels”, which is meant to prove that darkness as a recurrent motif in Conrad’s work such as “The Lagoon” is in fact the result of marginalization(Chifane, 2013). When turns to settings, in 1981, Carmen Gago Alvarez writes the paper “The Lagoon a Study in Imagery”, illustrating exuberant sensuous imagery contributed to the strange tropical setting, the mysterious elements as well as light and darkness in “The Lagoon” (Carmen, 1981). A similar one is “Animal Imagery and Religious Symbolism in Joseph Conrad’s HEART OF DARKNESS” written by Ramona Anttonen that shows how Joseph Conrad uses animal imagery and religious symbolism in Heart of Darkness, and compares the symbolism and imagery in Heart of Darkness with other works like “The Lagoon” to present us with the theme of morality in the story(Ramona, 2001). In conclusion, direct analysis of settings in “The Lagoon” is limited abroad.