4 page essay answering one of the essay questions

Conrad’s Heart of Darkness: essay questions: Choose one essay question and write a 4 page essay

  1. Some critics believe that in Heart of Darkness Conrad illustrates how “the darkness of the landscape can lead to the darkness of social corruption.” What does this statement mean? Do you feel this statement is an accurate assessment of the novel? Why or why not?
  2. Heart of Darkness seems to blur the line between the so-called “advanced” society of Europe and the “primitive” society of Africa. Why is it difficult to distinguish between civilized/savage and Europe/ Africa in Heart of Darkness? Does Conrad via Marlow ever take a strong position? What conclusions can you draw based on your answer to the previous question?
  3. Kurtz’s dying words are a cryptic whisper: “The horror, the horror.” What “horror” could Kurtz have been talking about? Is there more than one possibility? Why does Marlow “lie” to Kurtz’s Intended about “the horror”?
  4. The meaning of Marlow’s story is “on the outside, enveloping the tale which brought it out only as a glow brings out a haze.” How does Conrad’s style create meaning in the same way? And, of course, what meaning is there in Heart of Darkness?
  5. Track Marlow’s movements from the time he arrives at the outer station. He travels to the central station and then the inner station. On this journey he seems to grow in awareness. In what ways does this occur?
  6. The narrative is framed by two main voices, the first narrator on the Nellie at the beginning, and Marlow. Inside of Marlow’s narrative we hear from the chief accountant and the manager and the bricklayer, the Russian, and Kurtz. What do these different voices reveal about how they each see the world?
  7. Marlow clearly feels uneasy about where he is and what he’s experiencing in the first two stations [outer and central]. What, exactly, bothers him? Be specific. And what does this suggest about his persona?
  8. Marlow speaks in the same language as Kurtz in the sense that he feels the same sympathies. Explain the ways in which these two men are similar.
  9. Analyze Kurtz from what people say about him, his letters, and finally, his own words.
  10. The journey up the river is a metaphor for knowledge. It suggests that experience is the only path to true knowledge. Discuss this river journey and what Marlow learns along the way. Did he start out the same way he finished? Or was he changed?
  11. Track the journey through the three stations. What does each signify?
  12. Analyze the three stations as both physical places and symbolic places.

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