Attribution of Transitivity Roles and Characterization in Heart of Darkness


  • Surinder Kaur PhD Candidate, Department of English, Regional Institute of Management and Technology (RIMT) University, Gobindgarh, Punjab, India (147301)


action, character, material, role, transitivity, process


The objective of this paper is to study the characters of Marlow and Kurtz from Joseph Conrad’s novel ‘Heart of Darkness’ and their roles in the action and why they are called counterfoil to each other. Therefore, the focus is not on what is done (action) but who is doing what (character). I propose to use systemic functional grammar to explore these characters and their roles in the novel. Especially, I will make use of character’s transitivity profile following Simpson’s (2004, p.119) statement that, ‘the transitivity profile embodied by a text is generally a useful indicator of character in prose fiction’. This paper also aims to show how an investigation of process types can function as a rewarding analytical tool for character analysis. Following this, it has been observed that Marlow is a sensor while Kurtz turns out to be in an actor’s role which means that Marlow reflects while Kurtz acts. Marlow observes everything but does not participate in action while Kurtz’s role is in clear contrast to him as he is more of an action guy and his dominant process types are material processes


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How to Cite

Kaur, S. . (2019). Attribution of Transitivity Roles and Characterization in Heart of Darkness . Linguistic Forum - A Journal of Linguistics, 1(1), 26–31.