Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

Heart of Darkness book cover
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How can I write a reader response for first part of the novel Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad?

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Rebecca Wright eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2018

write51 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, Social Sciences, and History

When writing a response to the first part of Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness, you might want to try answering a few different questions first:

  • Where is the story set?
  • Who are the characters so far?
  • What does the plot seem to be?
  • What is the historical context of the story?
  • How is the historical context of the story relevant to the plot?
  • What genre is this book?

Once you have these questions answered, you can then start to formulate other questions you hope to see answered in the following chapters such as:

  • Who is the villain?
  • Why is the setting important?
  • Who is the hero/antihero?
  • Is the narrator reliable?
  • What challenges might the main character face?
  • How does the title come into play in the story?
  • What might the theme of this story be?

If your teacher has provided you with a study guide, you should look over it as you are writing up your response. This way, you can take notes and write down the page numbers of any details, conversations, or plot points that might be important later on in the book.

If you are going to be discussing the book as well as the film, Apocalypse Now, then make sure to take thorough notes and incorporate them into your response paper; this will help you compare the two works during the class discussion.

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