In an essay for Heart of Darkness, how do I relate an assigned thesis about character related motifs to the story?We are given five character related motifs, and we have to choose two of them. We...

In an essay for Heart of Darkness, how do I relate an assigned thesis about character related motifs to the story?

We are given five character related motifs, and we have to choose two of them. We are now asked to use the two character motifs as our thesis in the essay. The two character motifs I chose are:

- A compulsion within the protagonist which drives her or him to the completion of the quest.

- An awareness in the protagonist that she or he has been transformed somehow as a result of the quest.

My third choice is:

- Difficulties and obstacles which must be over come in order to attain the goal.

Expert Answers
Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

If there is a structure or some type of rubric to help guide the construction of the essay, I think that you will need to refer to that as your launching point.  Additionally, I have always advocated that when having difficulty with a particular task, it would be very beneficial if you were able to speak to the instructor in some capacity to obtain their feedback as to what is being summoned from you.  In terms of the details given, I guess I am unclear about where you are.  You have these three ideas and one of them has to be the focus of your paper, I presume.  If not, then I am in the wrong.  I would say that each statement is driven on character analysis.  Identifying specific characters and how they fulfill the specific thesis might be a good way to progress on this.  For example, in terms of the second one in terms of transformation as a result of the quest, you could take both Kurtz and Marlowe to analyze how their journeys transformed them.  What did each see or experience throughout their journey to the Congo that caused them to see both themselves and their worlds differently? Who were they before they embarked on their quest?  How did the journey change them?  What parts in their characters remained constant?  I think that being able to identify specific characters and how they fit each of the thesis topics would be able to help you fill out the paper with details, support, and ideas from the text.

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Heart of Darkness

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