Homework Help

Hi everyone, I actually do not have a specific question concerning the novel the heart...

user profile pic

fraz88 | eNotes Newbie

Posted July 21, 2013 at 5:30 PM via web

dislike 0 like

Hi everyone,

I actually do not have a specific question concerning the novel the heart of darkness, but all I need is some help. I have to write a term paper on the issue of racism in the novel already mentioned above. But here is my problem: I am sitting for like 8 hours in front of my laptop now and I do not have a clue, how to start my introduction part. So would anyone be so kind as to help me out with some ideas?

1 Answer | Add Yours

user profile pic

choucksolace | College Teacher | (Level 3) Adjunct Educator

Posted July 21, 2013 at 8:44 PM (Answer #1)

dislike 0 like

When drafting an essay, a good first step is to free write. Write down whatever comes to your mind about your topic. Don't censor your writing or worry about writing in complete sentences; you can always edit later. Keep writing until you generate a page or so and then look back at what you have brainstormed and pick out what you consider the best ideas. Then free write again on those specific ideas.

An effective introduction hooks the reader's attention, states your thesis, and maps out the main points you will be discussing in the rest of your paper. You might begin your paper by posing a question or telling a brief story. Your thesis should be an arguable statement. We can all agree that racism plays a role in The Heart of Darkness, but what role does it play and why is that important? Focus on specific characters, scenes, or descriptive passages.

You might think about the terminology Conrad uses to refer to the Africans (e.g. "niggers," "savages," etc.) What is the racial significance of the "darkness" in the title? Consider the cognitive dissonance of the British characters who consider the natives barbaric yet commit acts of cruelty themselves. How does Marlow's initial reaction to the natives differ from the way he later describes them? How have ideas about race changed since the novel was written and how have racist attitudes lingered? You might refer to current events to draw a comparison.

Sources:

Join to answer this question

Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.

Join eNotes