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Heart of Darkness Essay Topics

Heart of Darkness Essay Topics

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Published by mmaurno

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Published by: mmaurno on Aug 06, 2009
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05/28/2013

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HOD Essay Topics1. 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 statementmean? How can one's environment affect one's actions, feelings, and morals? Is thisstatement believable or not? Have you ever experienced a change in yourself that resultedfrom a change in your environment? What kind of change was it?2. Heart of Darkness seems to blur the line between the so-called "advanced" society of Europe and the "primitive" society of Africa. What makes one culture "civilized" andanother "savage" in the eyes of the world? Are these distinctions valid? Do you think thatthe culture you live in is "advanced" or "civilized"? Why?3. In Heart of Darkness, Kurtz is depicted as an upstanding European who has beentransformed by his time in the jungle-away from his home, away from familiar peopleand food, and away from any community moral support that might have helped preventhim from becoming such a tyrant. There was nothing and no one, in essence, to keep himon the straight and narrow. Have you ever found yourself in a similar situation? Wasthere ever a time in which you felt alone, in a strange environment, or different fromeveryone else around you? How did that experience affect you or change you? Did youfind yourself pulled toward base, cruel instincts as Kurtz was? What did you do to copewith those feelings?4. 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 do youthink Conrad made this scene so ambiguous?5. Some readers claim that Heart of Darkness strictly a political novella. Others, however,say it's really a story about the human condition. Can a work of fiction be interpreted indifferent ways? Should readers consider the author's intent when analyzing a story?6. Heart of Darkness can sometimes seem to readers like an incredibly dark, depressingstory that paints civilizations in a very negative light. Did it seem this way to you, or didthe story contain any positive moments? If so, what were they? Why did they seem positive?1979: Choose a complex and important character in a novel or play of recognized literarymerit who might - on the basis of the character's actions alone - be considered evil or immoral. In a well-organized essay, explain both how and why the full presentation of thecharacter in the work makes us react more sympathetically than we otherwise might.Avoid plot summary. 1982 Bulletin #1: "The struggle to achieve dominance over others frequently appears infiction." Choose a novel in which such a struggle for dominance occurs, and write anessay showing for what purposes the author uses the struggle.

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