Thursday, October 18, 2012

My Thoughts: Heart of Darkness

Title: Heart of Darkness
Author: Joseph Conrad
Publication date: 1890

Dark allegory describes the narrator's journey up the Congo River and his meeting with, and fascination by, Mr. Kurtz, a mysterious personage who dominates the unruly inhabitants of the region. Masterly blend of adventure, character development, psychological penetration. Considered by many Conrad's finest, most enigmatic story.

Usually when I finish a book, I like to review it on my blog, but with this one, I'm not going to give it a rating (though I do have one on goodreads) because this was assigned to me to read for AP English. In general, I'm just not a fan of this style of writing and I feel like rating this book based on how it fit with my tastes would discount all the literary brilliance that Conrad displays. So, I've decided to just let you know my thoughts about this book.

Now, to be honest, I started this book at midnight the day it was due...
Yes, yes, I know. What was I thinking?!
I'll tell you what I was thinking: "Gee, this book only has 160-or-so pages. Pshhh, I can totally read that in an hour or two!"

For anyone considering doing this: DON'T. BAD IDEA. Boy, was it a bad idea...

Conrad's writing style was pretty.... confusing. And no, it wasn't confusing because I was reading it at midnight it was confusing period. Although, reading it super late at night certainly did not help.
On the whole, I found the narration pretty monotonous. It droned on and on and didn't capture my attention. Not going to lie, I totally fell asleep while reading this. Multiple times. The writing just didn't grab my attention.

Now there are certain books that you just absolutely have to read in an English class, and this was one of them. Once you actually start discussing symbolism and themes, holy wowza this book is chock FULL of them!
Reading this on my own and then talking learning about it in English class is like away layers of an onion. Once you dig really deep into all the complex web of symbols and understand all their meanings, you realize that Conrad's actually genius! Once you start understanding everything, it's like everything just falls into place and you see the real meaning behind everything. In the way he contrasts the savages and the Englishman, the way he characterizes nature as a character, and just the symbol of the Russian in general, it's all so deep in meaning!

All in all, while I did not enjoy reading this book, I cannot help but be awed by Conrad's brilliance in crafting this story. Did any of you have to read this for school? If so, let me know what you thought! :)

1 comment:

  1. I totally know what you're talking about! I'm reading Crime and Punishment right now and the first 20 pages were so dry, but after a while, it's not that bad.


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