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HEART OF DARKNESS PROJECT
Conrad is Shakespeare in prose; more than any other modern novelist, he determines what it means to be human. His "Heart of Darkness" defines what motivated Shakespeare's characters from Warwick, the "kingmaker," to the personalities of the major tragedies. Indebted to Henry James, Conrad deftly manipulates point of view, character, setting and tone to dramatize consciousness. His "objective correlatives" -- "fascination with the abomination," "my ivory," "exterminate the brutes, " and of course "the horror...the horror" sears the reader's soul...
As you read, look for their presence...
QUESTIONS FOR HEART OF DARKNESS:
Along with The Bible, Oedipus and Hamlet,
Heart of Darkness explores more essentially
than most texts what it means to be human.
1--Discuss the narrative technique Conrad uses. Consider especially the use of point of view and frame narrative. Shifts in time are important.
2--For each chapter, establish the context for the words listed, and be able to explain their significance utilizing also the INFLUENCES mentioned above. Establishing connotations is important.
3--Note that our text, THE NORTON CRITICAL EDITION OF HEART OF DARKNESS, contains significant primary and secondary source criticism.
resembled an idol
waterway leading to the utmost ends of the earth
fascination with the abomination
pose of the Buddha
the idea only
gentlest, quietest creature
two youths...piloted over
emissary of light
centre of the earth
extremity of an impotent despair
instead of going up...(whole paragraph)
shadow of disease
apple pie order
I see it now
He originated nothing
plotting...unreal as everything
he is a prodigy
should be like a beacon
seemed to beckon
unrestful, noisy dream
stillness of an implacable force
penetrated deeper and deeper
fancied ourselves the first of men
the earth seemed...(entire paragraph)
the other shoe
exterminate the brutes
all Europe contributed
by the simple exercise
charm / frighten
unpractical spirit of adventure
apparation of a woman
crawling on all fours
long shadow of the forest
soul was mad
the horror the horror
I had peeped over the edge
A moral victory
Triumph of the wilderness
he had something
3--What does the title of the novel mean?
4--About eight miles from the Inner station, an event happens that allows Conrad to state what is probably the novels major theme. Explain.
5--How does Conrad dramatize the consciousness of Kurtz?
6--What is the major archetype in the novel, and note in interpreting that four levels of meaning emerge. Examine the Jung archetypes discussed on my Gothic web page.
7--Draw any Shakespearean and Tolkien correlations you can.
8--Apply the vocabulary of Aristotle to the novel: plot tragedy catharsis pity fear catharsis reversal
9-My Gothic fiction web site has extended commentary on Jung's shadow and descent archetypes with many references to Heart of Darkness. CLICK HERE.