Tag Archives: decoration

Disembodied heads

You remember I told you I had been struck at the distance by certain attempts at ornamentation, rather remarkable int he ruinous aspect of the place. Now I had suddenly a nearer view, and its first result was to make me throw my head back as if before a blow. Then I went carefully from post to post with my glass, and I saw my mistake. These round knobs were not ornamental but symbolic, they were expressive and puzzling, striking and disturbing – food for thought and also for the vultures if there had been any looking down from the sky; but at all events for such ants were industrious enough to ascent the pole.

Conrad, Joseph. Heart of Darkness and Other Tales. “Heart of Darkness”, 164. Oxford: Oxford NY, 2002.

You have no idea what Conrad is talking about in this paragraph until you get to the end where you find out that the “ornaments” are heads on poles. This is an example of delayed specification.