Looking On Darkness


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Not only does it describe the terrible things that happened in South Africa, but it also shows how a wicked society affects the development of the main protagonist. The intensity and inevitability are hard to take.

It would be worth re-reading. Jul 08, Lois rated it really liked it Recommends it for: I am the biggest Brink Fan on the planet. He is my favourite author so I am biased with all of his work. Don't expect a balanced review from me. As with all Brinks work the backdrop is apartheid South Africa and the stuggles of white and black alike. Aug 27, Randomerde rated it it was amazing. Was banned in South Africa, it is the story of a black actor who killed his white lover and is now awaiting trial.

The story has a political viewpoint, a tragic tale. Oct 09, Lyn rated it it was amazing. This is an extraordinary book - powerful, moving, intelligent, beautifully written. About 40 years since it was written, and with the apartheid regime gone, it stills hits you in the guts. The title is in fact Looking ON Darkness. I've nothing particular to add as I can't quite remember which one this is!

Aug 23, Conny rated it it was amazing. Boek dat mijn ogen opende voor de apartheid. Las het in t nedelands: Nov 01, Amyem marked it as will-not-read Shelves: Erin rated it it was amazing Aug 22, Yvonne rated it really liked it Apr 14, Monica Jain rated it it was amazing Jan 19, Anthony rated it really liked it Nov 10, Bonnie Venter rated it it was amazing Apr 08, Southy rated it really liked it Jul 15, Ben rated it really liked it Aug 25, Ingrid Verschelling rated it really liked it May 01, Karen rated it it was amazing Feb 27, Sangharsh Gaikwad rated it really liked it Feb 18, Natasha rated it really liked it Jan 16, Lianne Barnard rated it really liked it Aug 14, Lisa rated it liked it Mar 02, Dan O'Meara rated it really liked it Dec 18, Petro rated it really liked it Aug 29, Laura rated it it was amazing Dec 10, Michele rated it it was ok Jul 23, These writers sought to use Afrikaans as a language to speak against the apartheid government, and also to bring into Afrikaans literature the influence of contemporary English and French trends.

His novel Kennis van die aand was the first Afrikaans book to be banned by the South African government. Brink's early novels were often concerned with the apartheid policy. His final works engaged new issues raised by life in postapartheid South Africa. Trivia About Looking on Darkness. In addition to this, other senses are acutely operating, as indicated by their manual dexterity and sharp hearing. Caleb Plummer is the victim of the miserly, devilish boss Tackleton, the toy merchant, whom he depicts as a humourist, a merry and light-hearted benefactor. This is what Bertha is made to believe:.

The Blind Girl never knew that ceilings were discoloured, walls blotched and bare of plaster here and there, high crevices unstopped and widening every day, beams mouldering and tending downward. The Blind Girl never knew that iron was rusting, wood rotting, paper peeling off; the size, and shape, and true proportion of the dwelling, withering away. The Blind Girl never knew they had a master, cold, exacting, and uninterested — never knew that Tackleton was Tackleton in short; but lived in the belief of an eccentric humourist who loved to have his jest with them, and who, while he was the Guardian Angel of their lives, disdained to hear one word of thankfulness.

Not only does Caleb deceive Bertha into believing Tackleton a generous benefactor: The Cricket on the Hearth We are told that Tackleton actually hates children and despises toys: And even the magic lantern is there, that disturbing visual apparatus which distorts the straight chronological perception of reality into a jumble of unconnected, nightmarish, unwelcome revelations: Quite a frightening show, to lead children into a vision of terrors.

Such message is entrusted to the cricket, whose magic heals not so much the problems of the wider social context, but the feelings warped by deception. The final revelation will make everybody dance around Bertha, happily playing the harp.

Looking on Darkness by André Brink

He leads her to believe that Tackleton is their benefactor and a person entirely worthy of her love: Both love and blighted hope are vividly enacted by Bertha: She is the only one to notice with surprise the step of the stranger: Aberration rather than perspective defines such landscape — not a landscape indeed, at least not in the accepted sense. It is a jumble of contrasting emotions which become readable owing to the Cricket, the governing spirit or deus ex machina who re-establishes the truth.

Among the characters, the blind girl Bertha moves with a keener confidence across the invisible pitfalls provided by those who can claim to see. The older girl is blind. Itinerant beggars, they rest after a storm.

Hardback Editions

The blind girl is fingering a blade of grass, and pleasant noises may be provided by the birds and cattle grazing on the fields. Like other blind girls — Bertha, Miss Finch — she can play an instrument, having an innate musical ear. A Domestic Story plays the piano extremely well. Subtitles also provide a good match. Lucilla Finch and Bertha are both blind, but Collins weaves a much larger and more detailed tapestry of events around his heroine. Thus, in the Dedication:.

The attempt here made is to appeal to an interest of another kind, by exhibiting blindness as it really is. This notion places Lucilla side by side with other girls who seem to accept their impairment with a smile and with a much keener reliance upon the other senses. Another trait that even more effectively establishes a relation between the behaviour of Lucilla and that of the real Laura Bridgman and the fictional Bertha Plummer, is the spontaneous, unguarded expression of their feelings, especially when they are in love.

The narrator of the story, Madame Pratolungo, remarks that. My poor Lucilla was never to meet her lover in the light. She had grown up with the passions of a woman — and yet, she had never advanced beyond the fearless and primitive innocence of a child. A German character, Dr Grosse, performs the operation. It takes her relapse into blindness and series of sensational detours in the plot, with timely departures, arrivals, a comedy of errors to regain her equilibrium and her happiness, with the certainty of recognizing the true object of her love.

In her blindness, Lucilla finds freedom. The prison of sight impairment allows her to dwell in a landscape of her own creation, made of fears, fancies and opinions. In spite of this drawback, there is nothing I enjoy so much in using my sight as looking at a great wide prospect of any kind — provided I am not asked to judge how far or how near objects may be.

It seems like escaping out of prison. Here we find that the conventional paradigms of visible landscape are totally upset, almost non-existent, even when sight impairment ceases to be. Lucilla still lives in her world made of fears of whatever is black and fancies her love for Oscar and opinions dislike of Nugent , to the extent that Nugent, who deceives her by taking the place of her beloved Oscar, can easily manipulate her opinions.

Nugent creates in Lucilla a disturbing feeling of unease: In this story, with full reference to Laura Bridgman and to Dickens, a blind orphan girl is adopted by a pastor, moved by Christian charity. We read in his journal the recollection of the day he took home a poor blind orphan, Gertrude. The landscape — the Jura region, in Switzerland — is all shrouded in deep snow, often in darkness: Feeling she was entrusted to his religious care, he took her home — despite the fact that his wife was not happy with the charitable mission.

Mistaking his love for a moral duty, he is quite self-deceived. Again we have a story in which physical blindness is paired, as in Dickens, by an equal amount of moral blindness. Gide inserts the Dickensian plot in his story to emphasize the behaviour of the pastor.

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Not only does he deceive Gertrude, with frequent quotes from the Bible about Christian love, he is also visibly blind to his own love for her. She learns to play the organ in the small chapel, and the pastor spies on her and his son Jacques side by side: Thus unconfessed love and jealousy coexist, but unheeded as far as unseen. Gertrude fancies a landscape which only exists in the pages of the Gospel, with white lilies and silver streams, a promised land.

But after the surgery Gertrude regains her sight and sees that she has been painfully deceived. Her new awareness brings her to suicide. The reference applies to the dark aspects described in American Notes and to the deceptions staged by The Cricket: Again, the story spawns a film directed by Marston and a silent, directed by Johnston. The spectator, even more than the reader, is placed at an angle of vision which excludes most of the surrounding space, from where he could survey, and take part in, the dramatic irony of the story.

This is indeed a landscape made of fears, fancies and opinions.

There is a mystery inherent in these transitions from blindness into sight, heightened by montage Bordwell , whose dramatic quality and irony would not be lost on Charlie Chaplin. The movie City Lights places the famous comic marionette — the Tramp — in the urban jungle of the city, side by side with a blind girl, a timid flower seller, who is deceived into believing he is a millionaire.

In the Keystone days the tramp had been freer and less confined to plot. With this conception, I was freer to express and embellish the comedy with touches of sentiment. But logically it was difficult to get a beautiful girl interested in a tramp. This has always been a problem in my films. In this relationship he is romantic and wonderful to her until her sight is restored. Image in the public domain.

A few scenes reveal that the final recognition, impossible in visual terms, is achieved owing to the sheer touch of a hand, and the memory of the first touch. Pathos melts into comedy and the happy ending. The Cinema of Eisenstein. Sensation and Professionalism in the Victorian Novel. Techniques of the Observer. On Vision and Modernity in the Nineteenth Century. American Notes for General Circulation. Whitley and Arnold Goldman. The Cricket on the Hearth. The Letters of Charles Dickens.

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