Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Classic Tuesday: Heart of Darkness

Heart of Darkness
by: Joseph Conrad

Genre: Classic
Rating: 5 stars

Sent into the steamy heart of the jungle, this story chronicles Marlow's journey up river to the inner station where he meets the legendary Mr. Kurtz. Marlow's journey and discovery of Mr. Kurtz reveals the depravity to which mankind can seek when left to their own devices.

This is a classic novella which almost everyone it seems is forced to read at some point in either their high school or college career. The reactions run the gamut from absolutely loving it, to thinking it was the biggest waste of class time ever.  As my rating might show I am of the first camp. Now I know that it can seem slow- as if you are floating down a river...ever...so...slowly and all of the "brooding gloom" may seem too much for some people but I find it marvelously written and the ideas within it are wonderful.

The idea of what mankind is like without the social constraints of the police, of friends, of other people in general around is quite alarming as we see with the powerful Mr. Kurtz. It does make you ponder about what's inside each of us and overall if we would succumb to our own "heart of darkness" if given the chance to do so.

Now I should probably make note of the racist ideas in there. First off, remember when reading books from other eras you need to understand the mindset of the time so Conrad was simply writing within his era. Secondly, look at who the self-control and who can be described as almost regal during selections. My opinion is that this social criticism casts the Europeans in a much worse light than the natives.  So please read with an open mind.

I love this book, it is one that I have kept and reread without being assigned to do so. I love how Conrad makes us think. I love that there are quite a few hilarious quips peppered throughout the story. I simply love this book.

1 comment:

  1. My high school English teacher described the reading experience for this book as 'dense.' I think that sums it up very well. I did like it fairly well, but it was...dense.


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