Unanswered [4] | Urgent [0]
  

Home / Undergraduate   % width Posts: 10

'Marlow' - Common App- Character essay


Balanchine 4 / 20  
Dec 23, 2011   #1
Describe a character in fiction, a historical figure, or a creative work (as in art, music, science, etc.) that has had an influence on you, and explain that influence:

I am sitting in my bedroom and holding Conrad's Heart of Darkness; I do not know what to expect. Perhaps, I should expect a lunatic raving about rivets for two thousand pages. Perhaps, I should expect to hear the voice of my AP English teacher preaching, "The Horror! The Horror!" Perhaps, I should expect Marlow himself to leap from the pages and dictate his feelings aloud to me. Or, perhaps I should open the book, crack the spine, and listen for the flutter of the brown pages as I read.

Marlow is the main protagonist of the novel. He and I, as I like to say, have a special connection. He spins his yarns of seamanship; I spin yarns of didactic essay-writing. I focus concretely on morality, and I am brutally honest. Marlow does the same; he is not withered in his explanations for the good of human decency. He is punctual and enjoys an elaborate diction. As can be told, I do too (not "stuffy"- descriptive). Marlow carries a peaceful gaze- he sits like a Buddha, palms up in a deific fashion. I too carry a peaceful manner. But, it is not only that we share similar traits- he is my authority.

Marlow is clearly intelligent, eloquent, couth- not a man cut-and-dried for manual labour. He is mindful, and yet he is an intermediate between the two extremes introduced in his story- the Company, and Kurtz. He is insightful, and yet he is a natural philosopher. If only I was a natural philosopher! To sit and think, and be unsaddled with the burden of Western problems would be freedom from this occult savagery- Marlow must be the only character in books I've read to reach complete mental utopia. The eloquence seen in Marlow is odd- to think a seaman capable of such raconteuring abilities seems foolish. However, looks are deceiving. I find these qualities particularly admirable in him- it is important to stay at least relatively intermediate on topics of money, politics, and power. For instance, Marlow serves as the leeway between the Company and Kurtz- he is neither inclined towards dominating savagery, nor towards the consumption of money and profit. This venerable- to be in the middle is to see both sides from an equal distance. Although I acknowledge myself to not hold this perspective at all times, I remember it to be very important. Marlow is also incredibly observant- I wish to be so as well. To notice things on all levels can be very practical. It goes well with the 'calm medium' of his personality. These traits are imperative.

However, Marlow portrays several qualities which make him all too human. Perhaps, it is because he is the alter-ego of Conrad himself. In Heart of Darkness, Marlow describes a journey up the Congo River. This journey was, in fact, taken by Conrad himself (although not necessarily in the same pretext). And it is through Marlow that I identify with Conrad. Conrad is, first and foremost, an amazing writer. Stylistically, he is very controlled, and yet he successfully remains unpredictable with his plot manoeuvres. As an aspiring writer, I look up to people like Conrad for their capabilities. I, too, would like, one day, to write a story in the style of Conrad; perhaps, I should just adapt a Marlow of my own.

Despite initial repulsion, I have come to terms that I like Heart of Darkness because of the humanity I find in Marlow. He is not ordinarily a character people would think to look up to; he is slightly offbeat and a bit too mellow to serve as an interesting, multi-foiled main character. I like him for these reasons- I, too, am slightly offbeat. At the same time, Marlow is very intriguing- he is quite observant, and has a variety of perspectives. He serves as an equidistance between opposite extremes. This is admirable- it is not a quality most people seek to have. Marlow's temperament is soothing, and he manages to stay sane through his ordeal. It is this humanity which I seek to emulate; I am full of hope that this will one day occur.

~

Please critique my essay in a constructive manner. I shall be sure to return the favor.

Thanks!
cicy1994 3 / 10  
Dec 23, 2011   #2
He is not ordinarily a character people would think to look up to; he is slightly offbeat and a bit too mellow to serve as an interesting, multi-foiled main character.

would tend to look up to, ... often too mellow to be acknowledged...

Just find the sentence to be a bit awkward. :)

I would suggest you to read your essay aloud. Other than that, your idea is very original and interesting and your writing flows really nicely!
OP Balanchine 4 / 20  
Dec 24, 2011   #3
Thanks for you feedback. Is this revision any better?

From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.

~Luke 12:48

I was raised with the strong affirmations of the Bible, learning dutifully to exemplify God's words in my daily life. My scriptures were not taken lightly- I was quite possessive of my knowledge. Though I acknowledged it less as fact than I did as fiction, the morality of the teachings stayed the same. In order to enjoy great power, one had to earn it by keeping with the responsibilities.

Although I have never been bestowed with enough power to merit great responsibility, I have come to recognize this trait in many of my fictitious adventures: my books. To say I'm a fan of literature would be an understatement; I have grown quite attached to my collection. However, I had never been as faithful to the above parable as I was when I first read Conrad's Heart of Darkness.

This is where I met Marlow.
No fictional character I have ever met has ever been as memorable as Charles Marlow. Interestingly enough, it was not by vocation that I even chose to meet him; Marlow was thrust upon me by my wonderful AP English teacher. Despite my initial, rather tepid feelings towards the book, I can now say with satisfaction that, because of Marlow, Heart of Darkness is almost enjoyable. Marlow has extremely positive traits coupled with rather negative ones; he is the most human of all the characters. Thus, he is venerable- he portrays someone extremely relatable. It is in a sad twist of fate that he even appears in Heart of Darkness. All Marlow can possibly think of now is, "The horror! The horror!"

Marlow is the protagonist of the novel. He and I, as I like to say, have a special connection. He spins his yarns of seamanship; I spin yarns of didactic essay-writing. I focus concretely on morality, and I am brutally honest. Marlow does the same; he is not withered in his explanations for the good of human decency. He is punctual and enjoys an elaborate diction. As can be told, I do too. Marlow carries a peaceful gaze- he sits like a Buddha, palms up in a deific fashion. I too carry a peaceful manner. But, it is not only that we share similar traits- he is my authority.

Marlow is almost a balance to the two extremes introduced in the plot. He is at an equidistance from the two, representing propriety and morality. He is practical, siding with neither party. Marlow serves as the leeway between the Company and Kurtz- he is neither inclined towards dominating savagery, nor towards the consumption of money and profit. However, as his story progresses, Marlow is sucked further and further into the "heart of darkness"; he begins to acknowledge the greatness he believes Kurtz has. Even after seeing the human heads mounted on staves fencing his hut, Marlow does not believe Kurtz is a monster; instead, he sees Kurtz as a remarkable man. After Kurtz's death, Marlow agrees to uphold his honour by telling his Intended that the last words on Kurtz's lips were of her; she is deluded enough to believe this. Marlow exerts his humanity, allowing for pity to overshadow his feelings of anger that she believes Kurtz to be a good person. Marlow bears several qualities that make him all too human. Although he realizes that it is in his best interests to betray Kurtz and reveal his true character to his Intended, Marlow does not do this. Instead, he lies to her out of pity.

This is where my perspective suddenly shifted.
Kurtz, although undeniably a remarkable man, was going unpunished for his lack of responsibility? Marlow did not tell Kurtz's Intended of his true character. Kurtz was not punished for his descent into savagery; although one could argue that his termination had something to do with his abuse of power, did that really matter considering his physical state? Kurtz was going to die anyways. The true punishment would have been to reveal his true character- something Marlow didn't do.

Although I now understand why Marlow did what he did, I cannot help feeling that it was his humanity which prevented him from revealing the truth. Thus, in the scope of things, Marlow's sympathy crippled his better judgement. Through Marlow, I realize the importance of disallowing emotions to cloud my judgement. It is honourable what he did- however, it is not the truth. In the end, truth does triumph. Kurtz, however great and remarkable, did not deserve the end he got. He deserved to be exposed as the maddened psychotic he truly was, to the person who mattered most to him. Despite this, Marlow lied on his behalf. I am bitter that this is the ending Conrad chose for his story, although I understand the morality behind it- with great power comes great responsibility. However, breaking this golden rule does not necessarily guarantee punishment.
rpendyala 3 / 8  
Dec 25, 2011   #4
Perhaps, I should expect a lunatic raving about rivets for two thousand pages. Perhaps, I should expect to hear the voice of my AP English teacher preaching, "The Horror! The Horror!" Perhaps, I should expect Marlow himself to leap from the pages and dictate his feelings aloud to me. Or, perhaps I should open the book, crack the spine, and listen for the flutter of the brown pages as I read.

recast as

A lunatic perhaps, raving about rivets for two thousand pages. Or maybe even the voice of my AP English teacher preaching, "The Horror! The Horror!" Perhaps, I should expect Marlow himself to leap from the pages and dictate his feelings aloud to me. Or, perhaps I should open the book, crack the spine, and listen for the flutter of the brown pages as I read.

the first sentence of ur second paragraph is a little bit weak. maybe try and combine it with the second sentence?
otherwise, this is overall very good!
OP Balanchine 4 / 20  
Dec 25, 2011   #5
@Ramya

Thanks for your insight. However, you accidentally edited my old version. My apologies if I made this unclear-- the edited version is in the post right above yours.
rpendyala 3 / 8  
Dec 25, 2011   #6
just read your edited. sorry about about. and i honestly think it is great! if you get a chance, could you look at my winnie the pooh essay?
articuno 1 / 16  
Dec 26, 2011   #7
"He is practical, siding with neither party." I don't think "siding with neither party" is as "practical" as it is "neutral" -- the sentence isn't that important so just pointing that out, in case you want to make a change!

"was going unpunished for his lack of responsibility?" Did you on purposely put that question mark there? If so I think you should change it to: "Was Kurtz, although undeniably a remarkable man, going unpunished for his lack of responsibility?"

Those are the two main lil places I saw that could use editing but I liked the piece! ^^ Good luck!
palindromeman - / 7  
Dec 26, 2011   #8
i really like this essay. the first two paragraphs and especially the commentary on Marlow's dissatisfying positioning in HOD made me laugh. i felt that you clearly described your relationship with Marlow in the 2nd and 4th paragraphs but i feel that you could revise the 3rd paragraph a little bit to make it more personal

overall i think that you are a great writer who would make a great applicant to any college.

also, thank you so much for editing my essay :D
RiceAllTheWhey 3 / 16  
Dec 27, 2011   #9
This essay seems more about analyzing the book rather than revealing something about you, which is what the essay is intended to do.
I was reminded that Marlow was loyal to Kurtz, and I think you can write about that. The loyalty plays into the quote from the Bible about responsibility, and you could say that his loyalty is respectable and transcending to your life.

Review my essay?
Walden 2 / 30  
Dec 28, 2011   #10
There is something big i see missing from this essay and its the fact that you demonstrate qualities by saying not doing. You should be able to express his traits(and to and extant yours) by describing some actions he has taken to prove himself to be everything you said.Actions speak louder than words.I think it would be a turn off to raders if you just started to rattle off on how great you are wit out some sort of reasoning behing it. Another note, i do not thik you can say a buhda, buhda is or was a person that embodies the qualities of his religion much like jesus, so you can say like buhda.

Hope that helps!! can you go over my revised version t the very bottom of my roommate link, its the vitality essay at te bottom.


Home / Undergraduate / 'Marlow' - Common App- Character essay