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Heart of Darkness By Joseph ConradThis story was a eye opener for me. I had to re-read...

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teresakipps | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted November 14, 2007 at 5:57 PM via web

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Heart of Darkness By Joseph Conrad

This story was a eye opener for me. I had to re-read it two times just to get the real meaning out of the story. As far as the thesis goes that I got bac, I do not belive that it is correct. It seems more like a summary than a simple thesis. I feel like Conrad was trying to point us in another direction, but I do not know what direction or how to get there any advice on any other thesis for this story?

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cybil | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted November 30, 2007 at 7:50 AM (Answer #2)

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While Heart of Darkness is based on Conrad's actual journey up the Congo in 1890, this novella is more than a summary of his trip. What is he telling us about the impact of Europeans on the Africans? Why did the Belgian Trading Company come to the Congo? Look carefully at Conrad's description of the Africans when Marlow arrives at the Outer Station as well as the overall conditions. Then consider the appearance and behavior of such Europeans as the Accountant and the Brickmaker. Marlow's aunt believes he will be "an emissary of light" in darkest Africa; however, Conrad reverses the typical use of light/dark imagery so that light = bad and dark = good, generally speaking. What does Marlow admire about the cannibals? Their restraint! Do the Europeans have any restraint or even discipline, for that matter? I hope these points will give you some ideas. I'll be happy to respond to further questions.

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teresakipps | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted December 1, 2007 at 6:27 PM (Answer #3)

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While Heart of Darkness is based on Conrad's actual journey up the Congo in 1890, this novella is more than a summary of his trip. What is he telling us about the impact of Europeans on the Africans? Why did the Belgian Trading Company come to the Congo? Look carefully at Conrad's description of the Africans when Marlow arrives at the Outer Station as well as the overall conditions. Then consider the appearance and behavior of such Europeans as the Accountant and the Brickmaker. Marlow's aunt believes he will be "an emissary of light" in darkest Africa; however, Conrad reverses the typical use of light/dark imagery so that light = bad and dark = good, generally speaking. What does Marlow admire about the cannibals? Their restraint! Do the Europeans have any restraint or even discipline, for that matter? I hope these points will give you some ideas. I'll be happy to respond to further questions.

Cybil thanks a lot for the information of Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness. I have gone back to RU to get my Master's and this English teacher is giving me fits on my work. he uses MLA which we both know I can look it up on the internet or in a English Book but when I turned in my 750 word essay, he gave it back and told me it was wrong. I showed on the internet and he said they were wrong. Go Figure, Everything I hand in to him he questions me. I have been a Special Education Aide for the past three years at Blacksburg High School, and talked to English teachers there and they say he is wrong, but I have to turn it in on what he say. But Thanks Again,teresa kipps or tkipps@radford.edu

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copelmat | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

Posted August 7, 2010 at 1:36 PM (Answer #4)

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I agree with post #2 above. Analyzing the use of the light/dark motif would provide an excellent focus for such a short essay on the novella. By turning the motif on its head, what do you believe Congrad is attempting to emphasize? What "lesson" should we walk away with when we finish reading Heart of Darkness?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted November 26, 2010 at 6:48 AM (Answer #5)

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One thing is absolutely true about this exciting text - whilst on the surface it might appear to be a simple summary, there is a profundity to it that I certainly after studying it, researching it and teaching it am always surprised by. I doubt we will ever "get to the bottom" of it! Other areas you might wish to analyse is the relationship between Marlow and Kurtz and how they operate as "doubles." You might want to investigate how the journey Marlow makes into the "heart of darkness" is reminiscent of Dante's journey into hell, but also consider if this journey has any psychoanalytical meaning - what does Marlow discover about himself as he voyages deeper into the "heart of darkness"?

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