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Updated May 25, 2019

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DEEPER THAN THE SURFACE For many years authors of literary works have used their words to make a point. In a book that has difference characters the characters themselves can often make a point for the author just by being who they Henry James’ “Daisy Miller” and on James Conrad’s “Heart Of Darkness” each have a character that on the surface appears to be a bit of a minor player. However, once the reader takes off the topcoat and examines the underpinnings of the story and the character he will see that the character is much deeper than originally thought. In Daisy Miller the character of Giovanelli and in the heart of Darkness story the character of Harlequin are both subject to scrutiny when taken on their own merit and removed from the safety of the folds of the rest of their stories.

Each character manages to exemplify the point of the story and the main characters personality. In Heart of Darkness we have Harlequin. Harlequin on the surface appears to be little more than a side bar player in the story but when we take a closer look Harlequin magnifies and exemplifies the entire premise that the book author was trying to convey. He provides Marl owe with many aspects of information when he does what he does.

He relates the external activity of Kurtz(Conrad, 1999). This is a valuable resource because it allows the reader to remain up to date on the happenings of Kurtz without constantly having to see it from Kurtzs point of view. More importantly while he is relaying the external stuff about Kurtz the end result is that he also gives Marl owe insight as to the inner workings of Kurtz as well. We are treated to an armchair shrinks ideas about the mind and thoughts of Kurtz and what types of things drive him to react the way he does. It is a work of art on the authors part in that it gives us a fresh perspective and allows us to draw conclusions of our own(Conrad, 1999). Deliberately conceived as a clownish romantic, the harlequin is an ideal convert to Kurtz’s doomed illusions.

Aside from his narrative function of moving Marlowe closer to the inner station, the young Russian may also serve as a bizarre embodiment of the innocent adventurer who is willing to risk everything because he hasn’t the smallest idea of the costs involved. Marlowe recognizes the flimsy character of the harlequin when he describes him as wearing “pretty rags-rags that would fly off at the first good shake.” By contrasting the insubstantiality of the harlequin with the solid searching of Marlowe, we are disabused of the notion that Marlowe is simply glamour-hungry (Magills 1999). On the other hand the part of Giovanelli in Daisy Miller is a sharp contrast to Harlequin. While Harlequin appeared to be a romantic yet kind of goofy fun loving guy Giovanelli is smooth as silk. He too is a romantic at heart but he is a lawyer and that means he is educated.

This already has Harlequin looking less polished by contrast and comparisons. However, they do have one thing in common(James, 1988). They both have tremendous insight as to the workings of human nature. Giovanelli understands that Daisy is only acting the way she has been brought up to act in her homeland of America and it has no bearing on the type of person she is sexually. Harlequin understands Kurtz with equal clarity.

He sees Daisy because she is the most beautiful girl he has ever been around though he knows no future can come of the relationship (James, 1988). This is also the situation with Kurtz however it is not on a love level that they mingle but the end result is the same. No hope of a future friendship but for entirely different reasons (Conrad, 1999). Each story is a tale of love and adventure. Each story is a tale of people understanding the inner workings of others. However the two stories are set in different nations, different eras and with different motivation.

Harlequins and Giovanellis ability to understand the protagonist evidence the similarities. However their educational backgrounds, their ideas and beliefs and their purposes for being there are totally different. WORKS CITED James, Henry. Daisy Miller. (Penguin USA 1988) Conrad, Joseph. Heart of Darkness (Dover Thrift Editions 1991) Magills Surveys.



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DEEPER THAN THE SURFACE. (2019, May 25). Retrieved from