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Significance of Conrad’s Heart of Darkness Literature Book Review (Book Review Sample)


Conrad’s Heart of Darkness has been read over the past one hundred years variously as: an adventure story; a racist text; a critique on King Leopold II’s atrocities in the Congo; a postcolonial commentary; in support of white European superiority and African inferiority; a feminist text; and other interpretations. What significance did the story have on you as a person? Your response may include one or more interpretations as sketched above, or you may give your own interpretation, fully explaining your opinion(s).


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Significance of Conrad’s Heart of Darkness
Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad tells the story of Marlow's job as a transporter of ivory down the Congo. Through the long journey, we see Marlow developing intense interests in gathering information about Kurtz, who is an agent in ivory procurement. Marlow is shocked upon observing and understanding what the European traders have done to the African natives (Conrad 141). Going through the book, it is evident that the author intentionally made the novel extremely difficult to read. Conrad wanted the language of the novel to make the reader feel like they were fighting through the jungle, just like we see Marlow fighting through the jungle in search of Kurtz.
From a personal standpoint, the significance of the novel is in its title, "heart of darkness." The novel has a double meaning in the title. One literal meaning that can be derived from a dictionary understanding is that the title infers the interior of Africa, which has to be Congo (Conrad 148). The hidden meaning, which is of personal significance is the darkness or the primitiveness that every individual possesses in their minds and hearts. When the audience first starts reading the novel, the literal meaning of the title "heart of darkness" is the private area of the African territory yet to be explored, where the inhabitants led the primitive and nomadic ways of life.

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