The Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
“The word ‘ivory’ rang in the air, was whispered, was sighed. You would think they were praying to it. A taint of imbecile rapacity blew through it all, like a whiff from some corpse. By Jove! I’ve never seen anything so unreal in my life. And outside, the silent wilderness surrounding this cleared speck on the earth struck me as something great and invincible, like evil or truth, waiting patiently for the passing away of this fantastic invasion.”
The Heart of Darkness
The Heart of Darkness
Full Text - The Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
AP Guiding Questions Heart of Darkness
- Select a character that has an experience such as a rift and becomes cut off from “home,” whether that home is the character’s birthplace, family, homeland, or other special place. Analyze how the character’s experience with exile is both alienating and enriching, and how this experience illuminates the meaning of the work as a whole.
- Analyze and “illuminating” episode or moment and explain how it functions as a “casement,” a window that opens onto the meaning of the work as a whole.
- Choose a novel or play in which cultural, physical or geographical surrounding shape psychology or moral traits in a character. Then write a well-organized essay in which you analyze how surroundings affect this character and illuminate the meaning of the work as a whole.
- Analyze how cruelty functions in the work as a whole and what the cruelty reveals about the perpetrator and/or victim.
- Analyze the motives for the character’s deception and discuss how the deception contributes the meaning of the work as a whole.
- A symbol is an abject, action, or event that represents something or that creates a range of associations beyond itself. In a literary work a symbol can express and idea, clarify meaning, or enlarge literal meaning. Focus on one symbol and analyze how that symbol functions in the work and what it reveals about the characters, or themes of the work as a whole.
- Analyze how a physical journey is an important element and discuss how the journey adds to the meaning of the work as a whole.
- Literature is the questions minus the answer. Analyze a central question the work raises and the extent which it offer any answers. Explain how the author's treatment of the question affects your understanding of the work as a whole.
- Analyze how a specific death scene helps to illuminate the meaning of the work as a whole.
- Analyze a character’s response to a cultural collision and explain its relevance to the work as a whole.
- Analyze a morally ambiguous character and explain why his/her moral ambiguity is significant to the work as a whole.
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