July 20, 2006

Heart of Darkness thoughts

Posted in Uncategorized at 2:57 pm by mrsmauck

Finished Heart of Darkness this week. I really enjoyed the imagery-rich prose, the brilliant characterization of Marlow, and the horrifying portrayal of Belgian colonization in the Congo. However, the plot–for me–was weak. There were too many questions and not enough answers. Perhaps too much symbolism? The entire book is often said to be an allegory for a journey into the dark human psyche. I don’t know, maybe I’m not that into psychology, but I really just prefer a good story.

In a World Lit class, if I wanted a great portrayal of colonization AND an excellent story, I would teach Wide Sargasso Sea, and screen Jane Eyre the film. Although after a quick Amazon search, I realized that I might prefer the 1996 version, with Romeo and Juliet director Franco Zefferelli, William Hurt as Rochestor, and Anna Paquin as young Jane, over the one I watched last semester in a World Lit class, with Samantha Morton as Jane and a very scowly Rochestor. Anyone seen the Zeferelli version?

WSS is absolutely beautiful: great symbolism, excellent characters, postmodern structure–perfect for forcing critical reading and digging below the surface.



  1. CaliforniaTeacherGuy said,

    I started reading Heart of Darkness several months ago, but haven’t finished it yet. Maybe that’s because the prose is too imagery-rich for me! However, I rarely start anything (book, project, etc.) without finishing it, so I imagine that one day I’ll return to Conrad’s work.

  2. Laura said,

    I really got into Heart of Darkness in AP English. WSS is on its way through paberbackswap.com (supposedly), and I’m almost afraid to watch Jane Eyre. I liked the book, but I know they won’t do it how I “saw” it!

  3. Kim said,

    Okay, I might be committing female English teacher blasphemy, but I started Jane Eyre and couldn’t get into it at all–never finished it! I know the story, and I just cannot stomach this whole “madwoman in the attic” thing, and Rochester being a dear for keeping her up there! What is that lady’s story? I just don’t like her being the “dark other” and also crazy. Also, Rochestor’s French woman–also a little nutty. Are Brits the only sane people in the world? To me, it is a colonizing work.

  4. Laura said,

    All I can say is that after Fanny from Mansfield Park, Jane Eyre seemed like a frikkin’ Amazon warrior queen. The plot, okay, women in the attic? Whatever, at least it’s not an overwrought Heathcliff. I won’t hold your Anti-Eyreness against you if you don’t expect me to wuther any heights. ;o)

  5. Anonymous said,

    Read Wide Surgasso Sea to learn about her story.

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