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The Idiot


The Idiots by Joseph Conrad - Summary

This summary of "The Idiots" by Joseph Conrad focuses on the initial setting and themes introduced at the beginning of the story.


Set in the countryside of Brittany, the narrative begins with a vivid description of a journey from Treguier to Kervanda. The scene is richly painted with the landscape of undulating lands, meagre trees, and fields divided by hedges and stone walls, under the violent shine of the sun.

Characters and Setting

The story quickly introduces a dynamic between the carriage driver and an unseen character referred to as "the idiot." As they approach Ploumar, the driver, alighting from his box to walk beside the carriage, points out the idiot, setting a tone of intrigue and perhaps contempt.


From the outset, Conrad weaves themes of isolation and the stark contrast between the landscape's beauty and the harsh societal attitudes towards those considered different or lesser. The reference to "the idiot" hints at a story deeply rooted in the exploration of human nature, societal norms, and the treatment of individuals with disabilities.


Though just the beginning, this passage sets the stage for a narrative that promises to delve into complex themes of identity, societal judgment, and the juxtaposition of the natural world's indifferent beauty against human cruelty or misunderstanding.

This brief glimpse into "The Idiots" suggests a tale that is as much about the setting and its atmosphere as it is about its characters and their interactions within societal bounds.

For a complete and detailed understanding, diving into the full narrative of "The Idiots" is recommended.