Heart of Darkness Essay

Humanity has developed formal education as a means to distribute information and knowledge of the world around us, often by utilizing hands-on experiences, art, music, and literature as both subjects and supplemental materials. However, with an endless amount of topics to be taught, choices must be made to determine which subjects bring the greatest value … Read more

Themes of empire and race in War of the Worlds/Heart of Darkness

Introduction The British Empire at a glance, appears to warrant a seemingly clear definition. Expansive areas were under the rule of the British military and economic control, territories and seas were united by the British Crown and governed in the main city of London, this is the Empire on which the Sun never set. The … Read more

Conrad’s Heart of Darkness & Achebe’s Things Fall Apart – when cultures collide

“The Blood-Dimmed Tide” of Dionysian Impulse “The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere / The ceremony of innocence is drowned; / The best lack all conviction, while the worst /Are full of passionate intensity” (Yeats). Historically, humans possess an abysmal track record regarding the results of cultural collision: genocide, slavery, the Crusades, imperialism. In the … Read more

‘An image of Africa: Racism in Conrad’s Heart of Darkness’ by Chinua Achebe

In the essay, “An image of Africa: Racism in Conrad’s Heart of Darkness,” Nigerian born professor Chinua Achebe outlines in the novel a respectable argument critical of certain parts in Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad. Through the separation and critical over-analysis of certain parts and particular sentences, Achebe obviously and successfully declares his outlook … Read more

Lord of the Flies / In the Heart of Darkness (draft)

Historical Context The story of Charles Marlow in Heart of Darkness is heavily based around Joseph Conrad’s own experiences in the Congo during the time of the transatlantic slave trade; in which natives were kidnapped by imperial powers and exploited to work under the ‘superior’ race. During the 1890s, ivory was a valuable commodity. As … Read more

Symbolic use of ivory in heart of darkness

In Heart of Darkness Joseph Conrad often uses vague,”muted” descriptions, leaving a melange of possible meanings in the reader’s lap. One exception to this trend is Conrad’s symbolic use of ivory. Within the frame of the story, his references to ivory can obviously be seen as a representation of the white man’s greed. Towards the … Read more

Heart of Darkness relies on flawed observation and assumption (draft)

Thesis In Joseph Conrad’s novel Heart of Darkness, stereotypical characterizations are built off of prejudice and observation. Meanwhile Chinua Achebe’s use of dialogue, as well as alternate communication create a portrait of characters in a Nigerian society that is thriving in comparison to the silent, primitive culture described in Hearth of Darkness. Heart of Darkness … Read more

Heart of Darkness (social, historical and cultural context)

Question 7: Knowledge of the social, historical and cultural context of a text and its writer is often indispensable in the reader coming to grips with the central themes of a text. Discuss with reference to Heart of Darkness Literary critic Nathaniel Hawthorne statement that “in Heart of Darkness, Conrad takes his deepest look into … Read more

Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad – Kurtz’s last words

“The horror! The horror!” Kurtz’s last uttering words before he perished. Heart of Darkness, by Joseph Conrad, is a novella about a journey on the Congo River into the heart of Africa that Charles Marlow takes in order to rescue the infamous ivory trader, Mr. Kurtz. Throughout Marlow’s voyage, he becomes fixated on the notion … Read more

post-colonial effects in Heart of Darkness and Nervous Conditions

 While Nervous Conditions depict the effect of colonialism, Heart of Darkness shows the ways Europeans viewed and treated African Americans during colonialism. Using Heart of Darkness as a reference, the postcolonialism effect is shown by the Nervous Conditions as Tambu, Nyasha and Maiguru are faced with the choice of embracing the colonial ways or … Read more

Exploring the Symbolism of Kurtz in Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness

 Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness is one of the most famous novellas of the twentieth century. Heavily inspired by Conrad’s own journey into the African jungle, Heart of Darkness follows the steamship captain Marlow into the interior of the wilderness, the literal “heart of darkness.” The novella is fraught with symbolism: many of the … Read more

Writing essays on ‘The Heart of Darkness’

Here are some key points, topics, and themes to consider when writing an essay about ‘The Heart of Darkness’:

Colonialism and Imperialism: ‘The Heart of Darkness’ is set during the height of European colonialism, and the novel raises important questions about the ethics and consequences of imperialism. Consider the ways in which the novel challenges the assumptions and attitudes of European colonialism, and examine how the novel portrays the relationship between the colonizers and the colonized.

Racism and Otherness: The novel also raises important questions about the role of race and otherness in colonialism. Consider the ways in which the novel portrays African people and culture, and examine the ways in which Conrad uses language and imagery to construct a vision of African otherness.

Symbolism: ‘The Heart of Darkness’ is a highly symbolic novel, and examining its use of symbols can yield rich insights into its themes and meanings. Consider the significance of the river and the jungle, the use of light and darkness, and the portrayal of Kurtz as a symbol of the corrupting influence of power.

Narrative Technique: Conrad’s use of narrative technique is also a key aspect of the novel’s power and complexity. Consider the ways in which the novel’s frame narrative, in which Marlow recounts his story to other characters, contributes to its themes and meanings.

Existentialism and the Human Condition: At its core, ‘The Heart of Darkness’ is a meditation on the human condition, and the novel raises important questions about the nature of existence and the search for meaning in an uncertain and chaotic world. Consider the ways in which the novel engages with existentialist themes, such as the problem of evil, the nature of morality, and the search for purpose.

These are just a few of the many topics and themes that can be explored in an essay about ‘The Heart of Darkness’. By engaging with the novel’s complex and multilayered themes and ideas, you can gain a deeper appreciation of its power and enduring significance.