South Africa

1. Some critics believe that in Heart of Darkness Conrad illustrates how ‘’the darkness of the landscape can lead to the darkness of the social corruption. ” This statement means that if the environment is dark, then the people in that environment will match the surrounding feeling, which is dark and depressing. For example, if it is a gloomy rainy day, most people feel tired and not as happy. If it is a bright sunny day, the most people feel motivated to get things done and joyful.

Yes, this statement is believable because I have noticed that the weather, my surroundings, and even other people’s behaviors around me affect my mood. Today, for instance, it rained all day and the sky was dark, as a result I slept throughout the whole day. So my environment changed my mood negatively. – “It made you feel very small, very lost, and yet it was not altogether depressing, that feeling. ” When riding along the river. 2. Heart of Darkness seems to blur the line between the so-called “advanced” society of Europe and the “primitive” society of Africa.

The native people of Africa are referred to as savages. The white people in the novel showed they had uncivilized characteristics like the natives. Since the white people felt superior, however, they treated the natives like slaves and objects. Europe seems to be more civilized in the eyes of the world because the people are more advanced in technology and knowledge, while Africa seems to be more uncivilized because the people are cannibals and not as advanced in technology, if at all. I believe these distinctions are valid, but I do not agree with the white society feeling superior to the natives.

I also believe that the culture I live in is advanced and civilized because there have been so many advancements in science, technology, and weaponry, and we follow the guidelines of “all men are created equal”. – “The conquest of the earth, which mostly means the taking it away from those who have a different complexion or slightly flatter noses than ourselves is not a pretty thing when you look into it. ” 3. In Heart of Darkness, Kurtz is depicted as an upstanding European who has been transformed by his time in the jungle- being away from the society he was used to that could have prevented him from becoming such a tyrant.

I have experienced being in a situation where I was very different from the people around me. It forced me to figure out their interests so I was able to join in on their conversations. By the end of the day, I no longer felt alone. So that experience taught me that I am going to come across diversity in life, but I need to be open and accepting of it. If I had chosen to just be shy, I wouldn’t have learned this lesson. I didn’t find myself being pulled toward base, cruel instincts as Kurtz, but I think that’s because Kurtz had no one to control him. If a person gains that much power, it may lead to the transformation that Kurtz experienced.

–pg. 144 “But his soul was mad. Being alone in the wilderness, it had looked within itself, and, by heavens! I tell you, it had gone mad. ” 4. Kurtz dying words are a cryptic whisper: “The horror, the horror”. There could be more than one possibility of the “horror” Kurtz could have been talking about. I think that it symbolizes the darkness of Kurtz’s tyrant and savage-like qualities that he gained when he lived with the natives. When he lives with the natives, he becomes very greedy and ignorant because he believes that he is superior to the natives.

I think from his last words, it shows that the power got to him and he didn’t want to admit it. I think Conrad made this scene so ambiguous because the “horror” that Kurtz could have been anything. I think he chose to keep it unclear so it has a lasting effect on Marlow, because that will live with Marlow the rest of his life. Also, the openness allows the reader to contemplate on what they might think the “horror” could be. 5. Some readers claim that Heart of Darkness is strictly a political novella. Others, however, say it’s really a story about the human condition.

Yes a work can be interpreted in different ways, because I believe that this book deals with both of these themes. The political and human condition aspects are interdependent. For instance, Kurtz’s dictatorship (political) on the natives leads to his madness (human condition). Readers should consider the author’s intent when analyzing the story because it will help them understand the themes and symbols more affectively. Conrad’s intent of this story was to show the dark and corrupt ways of a more advanced society on an uncivilized society and how that leads to madness and chaos.

If the reader doesn’t understand his intentions then it will be more difficult for them to understand the story. 6. Heart of Darkness can sometimes seem to readers like an incredibly dark, depressing story that paints civilizations in a very negative light. To me, most of the novel was dark and depressing, but there were some minor parts that showed a positive light. I noticed when he talked about his childhood or youth, they were always described as bright and happy. I think this signifies that everything seems so simple when you are young, but when you get older, life become more difficult.

When talking about two young boys on pg.74, he says that they were “foolish and cheery countenances. ” On pg. 71, he talks about his boyhood and how the world seemed to be “a blank space of delightful mystery- a white patch for a boy to dream gloriously over. ” When he talks about the boyish-faced Russian on pg. 126, he describes him as brightly colored and “extremely gay”.

– Why is it important to narrate Marlow in the act of telling his story? – How are women described in the novel? (African mistress and Kurtz’s intended) – Why does Marlow lie to Kurtz’s fiancee about Kurtz’s last words? – Could Kurtz be described as the “tragic hero” in this novel? Power being his downfall.

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