Skip Nav

Heart of Darkness

Sample Essay Outlines

❶From the beginning of the novel, Marlow and the readers are informed that Kurtz has gone mad.

From the SparkNotes Blog

Popular Topics
Background
Related Blogs

Many critics have commented on Conrad's evocative powers in Heart of Darkness, paying particular attention to his use of imagery, which manages to evoke a sinister atmosphere through the accretion of objectively described details of the African jungle and natives. The visual imagery, which heavily depends upon contrasting patterns of light and dark, contributes most appreciably to the consistently ambiguous tone of the work.

To demonstrate the moral uncertainty of this world and of life in general, Conrad consistently alters common symbolic conceptions of light and dark. Thus, white is not synonymous with good, nor black with evil, but rather both symbols are interchangeable. Throughout the novella, white and black characters are alternately examples of acute suffering, civilized dignity, moral refinement, or violent savagery, demonstrating that no race is wholly good or evil, and that all human beings are a confusing mixture of propensities for all types of behavior.

While some critics consider Conrad's imagery vague and confused in a manner that does not present a clear picture of the principal characters and events, most find that the ambiguity of description lends a psychological depth to the story that demands the close attention and involvement of the reader. The political significance of Heart of Darkness has also received much critical attention.

Social Darwinism and a strong belief in the Carlylean work ethic are two of the Victorian standards that are attacked in the novella. The first served to justify European exploitation of Africa and other areas of the world by purporting that the indigenous peoples were in need of the superior technological and religious knowledge of Europe. In Heart of Darkness, the hypocrisy of these aims is illustrated by the all-consuming scramble for wealth by the Europeans, who destroy the land and people without remorse.

Critics contend that by contrasting the harmony that exists between the native Africans and their natural environment with the lazy, brutish grotesques that white imperialists become in Africa, Conrad proves that it is the Africans who are the fittest to survive in their native land and that Darwin's theory was in fact never intended to be applied to races or nations.

In similar fashion, the work ethic that Marlow seems to embrace, praising its effectiveness in keeping his mind free of undesirable thoughts, is in fact instrumental in blinding him to the events around him. Throughout the novella, Conrad's portrayal of the failure of various European ideologies in Africa suggests the consequent failure and moral bankruptcy of Europe.

Heart of Darkness remains a work popular with critics and readers alike. It has been studied from feminist, psychoanalytical, racial, and political perspectives. Conrad's consciously ambiguous presentation of the relative nature of truth and morality, which compels the reader to take an active part in understanding the novella, is often considered a forerunner of many modernist literary techniques.

For this reason Frederick R. Some Reminiscences autobiography ; also published as A Personal Record, Conrad to a Friend: Essays for the Eighties, edited by Ross C. The University of Alabama Press, I begin with three questions: Is it a senseless accident, result of the crude misinterpretation or gross transformation of the mass media, that the cinematic version of Heart of Darkness is called Apocalypse Now, or is there already something apocalyptic about Conrad's novel in itself?

What are the distinctive features of an apocalyptic text? Although the point has been strangely neglected, it is clear that Conrad markedly altered his conception of Heart of Darkness during the period of its composition.

His act of writing was at the same time a Conclude with a definitive statement about what you believe Conrad wanted to convey to his reader about the notion of a civilized society. There are many fascinating and complex characters populating Heart of Darkness.

Perhaps two of the most interesting characters are Kurtz and Marlow, two very different men who have found themselves in similar situations in a setting that is strange and foreign to them.

Select one or more characters from this novel and provide an in-depth analysis of their character. If you select two characters, you could organize your essay in a compare-contrast fashion, noting the similarities and differences between the two characters. If you choose to do this, be sure to develop an argument in which you state why the differences are important, and how they connect to the theme of the novel. Heart of Darkness is densely populated with male characters, but there are several female characters and some of them are crucial to the development and denouement of the plot.

For this essay, select one or more of the female characters and explore her role within the plot. Consider notions such as power, authority, autonomy, and dependence in your analysis.

There are however several parts in the novel that hint at the opposite and that prove that the context of the novel can be seen from more…. The nature of humanity has been questioned by philosophers for centuries.

Among the many theories in existence the theory of Thomas Hobbes that all people are born innately evil or that of John Locke in which all people are born pure and innately warm hearted are the most cited and talked about.

If you contact us after hours, we'll get back to you in 24 hours or less. Heart of Darkness Essay Examples. Previous Go to page. As he continues his journey up river he experiences a vast range of emotions and situations that are putting him to the test to see if… Emotion Life.

Heart of Darkness Study Guide Chapter 1 1. Major Works Data Sheet Plot summary: With the help of his aunt… Democracy. All of this makes Marlow change his… Civilization. The Thames River as in any mythology is a source of… Discrimination.

Kill Whitey Indigenous peoples of Africa die every day because of war, famine, and disease largely due to the legacy of European imperialism. Assess the importance of setting in Heart of Darkness The setting is the basis of every story or novel, the basis of every prose work.

But each reader of Heart of Darkness should try to solve the mystery the… Congo. Heart of Darkness — An Allegory? There are however several parts in the novel that hint at the opposite and that prove that the context of the novel can be seen from more… Caribbean. The Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad The nature of humanity has been questioned by philosophers for centuries. Linked to these… Human nature Religion.

Writing Tips

Main Topics

Privacy Policy

The Nigerian writer Chinua Achebe has claimed that Heart of Darkness is an “offensive and deplorable book” that “set[s] Africa up as a foil to Europe, as a place of negations at once remote and vaguely familiar, in comparison with which Europe’s own state of spiritual grace will be manifest.” Achebe says that Conrad does not provide enough of an outside frame of reference to enable the novel to be read .

Privacy FAQs

Heart of Darkness shows how the forces of nature control man. The jungle exposes man’s weakness. The jungle exposes man’s weakness. Write an essay showing how .

About Our Ads

Heart of Darkness study guide contains a biography of Joseph Conrad, literature essays, a complete e-text, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis. Joseph Conrad's Heart Of Darkness is widely considered a literary classic, both for its pioneering writing style and its examination of the true nature of colonialism and imperialism. Based on Conrad's own experiences in the Congo in late 19th century, the book covers themes such as madness, gender, race, and nature, as well as others.

Cookie Info

Preparing for the Essay. College and high school English classes will often assign Heart of Darkness as required reading. Students must read the book and write an essay based on different themes. While some professors have required topics, other teachers will . Home» Essay Topics and Quotations» Heart of Darkness Thesis Statements and Important Quotes Heart of Darkness Thesis Statements and Important Quotes Below you will find five outstanding thesis statements / paper topics for “Heart of Darkness” by Joseph Conrad that can be used as essay starters.