Die Heuning Pot Literature Guide
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Analysis

Literary Devices in Heart of Darkness

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

Setting

Marlow tells the story of his travels up the Congo River. That makes the setting…the Congo. And more generally, Africa. Check out one of Marlow's descriptions of sailing up the river:Going up tha...

Narrator Point of View

Welcome to our frame narrative. First, our unnamed narrator introduces the frame for the story (the evening spent aboard the Nellie). Why do we start out like this? Well, because we have another na...

Genre

Adventure, Psychological Thriller and Suspense, Literary FictionLet's take these one at a time:Adventure. You've got a boat. You've got hippos. You've got cannibals, heads on sticks, and a white gu...

Tone

Just to choose a totally random passage:Black shapes crouched, lay, sat between the trees leaning against the trunks, clinging to the earth, half coming out, half effaced within the dim light, in a...

Writing Style

We hear you: Conrad isn't easy to read. His writing can come across as long-winded and (we'll go there) tedious. But we think you should give it a chance. It might help to slow down and read it alm...

What’s Up With the Title?

With such an ominous title, Heart of Darkness delivers what it promises: ruminations on the nature of evil. (You know, just like Wicked, but without the song-and-dance.) The "heart of darkness" ref...

What's Up With the Ending?

Lol, you tell us!No, seriously. Right at the end of Marlow's visit with the Intended, he tells us that he couldn't tell her the truth about Kurtz: "It would have been too dark—too dark altogether...

Tough-o-Meter

Sorry, guys. This one's a toughie. Not only are the plot, themes, and motivation a little obscure (maybe even dark), but the language isn't exactly easy, either. Check out this set of sentences fro...

Plot Analysis

Just a Small Town BoyCharlie Marlow loves maps. He wants to become an explorer so he can fill in those blank spaces on the maps. Upon acquiring a steamboat with the Company, he begins his journey i...

Booker’s Seven Basic Plots Analysis: Voyage and Return

Road Trip!Marlow embarks on his journey aboard the steamboat and travels up the Congo River. For this stuffy old white guy, navigating the Congo feels like "traveling back to the earliest beginning...

Three Act Plot Analysis

Rollin' on the RiverMarlow is sailing down the Thames in the Nellie when he decides to tell a story. A long story. Act I of his story begins when he gets a job in Brussels and then heads down the O...

Trivia

The prequel of Heart of Darkness is entitled Youth and was published in 1898. (Introduction by Hampson.)Heart of Darkness is largely biographical. Joseph Conrad traveled up the Congo River in 1890...

Steaminess Rating

Most of Heart of Darkness deals with a bunch of nineteenth-century dudes who travel into the core of Africa with no women aboard the ship. Sex? Not happening. (We're not saying that you couldn't fi...

Allusions

The Bible: Matthew 23:27-28 – "a whited sepulchre" (1.22)Moirae (Greek Fates): "two women…knitting black wool" (1.23), "knitting old woman" (3.27)Plato (1.26)Dante: the Divine Comedy &#...
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