Friday, March 2, 2012
Book Review: Heart of Darkness
So it has come to my knowledge that Heart of Darkness is one of the greatest pieces of British Literature you will learn about in school. At least that is what my British Literature professor is telling our class. I have noticed across the review boards, that you either hate Heart of Darkness with a great passion or you really know why it is in the literary canon.
The novel is about an adventurer sailor-man named Marlow who is sitting around and telling his tale of his venture into Africa on a mission to bring back this guy names Kurtz. This trip to Africa changes Marlow's perspective about everything he has ever known about the society he was brought up in (england). This book is the typical anti-imperialistic book from the eighteenth century when countries were claiming African land as their own. In some light, this book is really racist, often comparing the natives to "savages" "prehistoric men" and "hyenas". So if racism bothers you, do not bother with Heart of Darkness.
Heart of Darkness lacks in adventure and in plot. But, the writing is truly beautiful. No one can deny Conrad's elaborate prose. Seriously, the guy is deep. But, Conrad's writing style tends to make the book really hard to read and comprehend for most readers. There is just SO much to digest in such a short amount of time. The first 40% of the beginning of Heart of Darkness, I was completely lost. But as soon as I sat down and really started to concentrate on the writing I highly enjoyed the book.
I would recommend Heart of Darkness really only for english majors and classic literature lovers. If you are looking for a simple book, a few pages in you will find yourself flustered. My tips would be to take it slow and really enjoy the sentence structure and the comparisons Conrad makes throughout the novel.