If you’re looking for a study guide on how to write Heart of Darkness essay, you should definitely check this post. Below we will share a few ideas that will help you to cope with the assignment.
How to Write a Critical Review on Heart of Darkness
The key idea of a critical review is that you have to evaluate the main issues, arguments, theme of the book, etc.
The first step to a successful essay is the active reading. Take notes that will help you to understand what the author wanted to show you and the way he does it.
Here are few Heart of Darkness essay questions to analyse in your paper:
1. Narrator’s point of view.
Joseph Conrad uses two different first-person point of view. The book begins and ends with narration of a traveler who listens to Marlow’s story while the main part of the plot is told by Marlow.
Think, why does the author use this technique instead of traditional third-person or first-person narration? How does this framing changes the reader’s interpretation of the story? How do you think, is Marlow’s story real? Is there any evidence to prove it? Is the traveler reliable?
Check our Heart of Darkness essay samples to get more inspiration!
2. Symbolism in the story
If you’re assigned to write Heart of Darkness symbolism essay, than you have a lot of opportunities! The Conrad’s book is full of symbols. And here are a few examples:
Think, what does fog symbolizes in Marlow travel. Is it a nuisance or a kind of barrier? Can it symbolize the Marlow’s journey uncertainty or his mental state?
Examine Kurtz’s character and personality. In your paper, explore episodes when he acts as God for native Africans. Or, you can analyze the greed and power in Kurtz’s actions.
- The accountant
The accountant symbolizes the company and its goals. The way he appears in the story reflects the actual image that the company wishes to create while undergoing the colonization: elegant outside, but destructive inside.
Of course, we didn’t mention all the symbols presented in a book. Make your own research and define what else symbols are represented in Heart of Darkness.
3. Heart of Darkness essay themes
If you’re looking for the themes of Heart of Darkness, check some of them below:
- Racial discrimination theme
Theme of racial discrimination in the novel shows how is dominating in Africa. Analyze how the racial crimes that Kurtz committed against Africans correspond to racism today.
- Evil and good theme
Explore how Kurtz’s ambitions that seems good relate to his true goals which are not so admirable. On the other hand, you might want to analyze Marlow’s struggles to make the right decisions.
- Violence and greed
Conrad describes two types of violence in the novel: provoked cruelty and violence among the savages. Explore how Kurtz uses violence to dominate the Africans and to attack steam carrying Marlow.
Investigate the period of ivory trade and how it has impacted the native Africans’ freedom and life. What were the role of violence in the competition between the European companies.
Are you dissatisfied with your Heart of Darkness essay because it does not make enough of an impression? Try looking at our collection of examples and get more ideas on how to improve it!