Journey to Meaning
LRJ (This will help you develop your response.)
You will read about the various literary criticisms and select a particular literary lens through which to view Heart of Darkness, answer specific questions from that perspective, and analyze two of the five passages from that same perspective. You will need to print out the passage and attach it to each analysis. The analysis should be handwritten and a minimum of two pages.
You will have this class to finish this assignment. Use your time wisely.
Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness is among the most studied, debated, contested, and theorized works of Western literature. The novel can be viewed through many critical lenses.
- A post-colonial reading might critique, celebrate, and even reconcile Europe’s colonialization activities throughout Africa in the 19th century.
- A Marxist reading might point to ways in which the story depicts the violence and cultural repression which surrounds capitalistic enterprises.
- A psychoanalytic reading might focus on the complicated psyches of Kurtz or Marlow and explore their unique psychological motivations and the ways in which their encounters with and within the Congo shift their psychological perspectives.
- A feminist reading might explore the three female characters —Marlow’s aunt, Kurtz’s native lover, and Kurtz’s fiancée —and point to the lack of power and authority given to women in the decidedly patriarchal society.
- A new historicist might consider how the novel both critiques and celebrates imperialism and, also, how it functions as something of a counter-historical account that documents that horrors and ravages of European imperialism.
- A queer theory reading might consider the complicated relationship—which seems akin, in some respects, to a romance—that exists between Marlow and Kurtz.