Customer Reviews for

Heart of Darkness: (Classics Deluxe Edition)

Average Rating 3.5
( 118 )
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(36)

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(32)

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(20)

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(15)

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(15)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

Hear of Darkness

The book to me was okay. I mean if you like a book that sounds like a poem all the way threw it then it's probably going to be a book for you. Other than that the book was good. I like the story of a man who is trying to get a job but ends up fighting for his life. When...
The book to me was okay. I mean if you like a book that sounds like a poem all the way threw it then it's probably going to be a book for you. Other than that the book was good. I like the story of a man who is trying to get a job but ends up fighting for his life. When I first read the title Heart Of Darkness I thought it was going to be about something totally different. But see surprise can be a good thing and in this case it was.

but one thing about the book i liked was that i couldn't really connect with the book. because alot of books i read i can. so maybe it was the fact that i chose a book i dont' usually read to read instead.

posted by zebrakowz on January 7, 2010

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Most Helpful Critical Review

10 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

Didn't grab my heart

I'm somewhat torn. The English Major in me would really like to give this book a higher rating. The reader in me has a hard time doing so.

I thought that approaching it a second time as a seasoned English Major would result in a better perspective. Admittedly, I thi...
I'm somewhat torn. The English Major in me would really like to give this book a higher rating. The reader in me has a hard time doing so.

I thought that approaching it a second time as a seasoned English Major would result in a better perspective. Admittedly, I think I got more out of the plot this time and see much more depth and symbolism in the book...but I still found myself struggling to stay awake at times.

What's sad is that this is not necessarily a slow paced or boring book. It's filled with exploration, political intrigue, violent deaths, savage attacks and other moments of suspense and tension. And yet, it is also filled with lengthy monologues on the nature of man and the perspectives of our narrator Marlow (who is actually a secondary narrator if you want to get technical, since he's telling the story to an unnamed narrator who appears very little in the book at all...a very strange setup).

The craft or structure of this novel is intriguing and I suspect is a large reason why this is such a classic. As I mentioned briefly above, the narrative style is a little different. The "official" narrator of the book is an unnamed man sitting on a boat. However, the meat of the story is actually told by another man on the boat (Marlow) who is actually telling this story to our unnamed narrator. There are also segments where Marlow is re-telling something someone else said to him or something he read, thus leaving us three or four times removed from the actual events of the story. His spoken narrative is also sometimes a little disjointed and sometimes conversational as though he's lost his train of thought while telling the story or he's distracted or interrupted by something or someone on the ship with our actual narrator.

The book is full of symbolism and allusion. It can definitely be taken as a commentary on many different aspects of Africa, colonialism, Imperialism, savagery, humanity, principles, beliefs, truths, and many other high level themes. However, the book doesn't seem to come up with any concrete answers about any of these and even leaves us in the darkness as to exactly which commentary we should be paying attention to. Truly, many social commentaries leave off just short of prescribing a plan of action, but they generally make their arguments fairly clear. In the case of Heart of Darkness, I feel like I came away more muddled than when I began. Yes, I acknowledge that oppression of so-called savages is not to be condoned, but I knew that ahead of time...and honestly, I'm not entirely sure that oppression is the core meaning of the novel.

I appreciate that this novel has depth to it that I don't understand. It's definitely a difficult novel that's hard to truly access. It's high level plot and themes are intriguing, but I don't feel that they stand well enough on their own to warrant an outrageous following. In order to truly appreciate this book, I feel that it requires very in-depth study and discussion of weeks or months. Maybe I'm just looking for too much, and if that's the case, then my view of the book goes down even more. Maybe I'm just obtuse and missing the point, which means my review is unfortunately lower than it should be.

Whatever the reason, I don't love this novel and don't anticipate reading it again. If somebody else reads it and loves it and wants to discuss it with me and turn me around, I'd gladly open a discussion, but for now, I stick by my rating.

posted by theokester on June 15, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 19, 2012

    :( :-P

    Dont like this book... have to write an essay on it...

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 5, 2012

    Boring

    This book is very boring !!!

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 1, 2010

    a not so pleasant journey into the heart of darkness

    In reviewing the book Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad, I am going to be completely and brutally honest. There is only one positive aspect about the entire book, and that is that it is composed of some profound ideas. Unfortunately, the way in which the material is presented is not appealing in my opinion. There was very little of anything in the book that really grabbed my attention. Sometimes I found myself just reading without paying attention, for I had no interest in what I was reading.
    Likewise, during the period of research we did in class for the book I found myself straying from the main assignment. The idea of imperialism in the Congo area just doesn't grab my attention, for I am not interested in the matter. I knew as soon as we began the research that I would have trouble sustaining my attention span long enough to read the amount we had to read for homework each night.
    Also, some of the structure of the book is confusing to follow along with. The structure of the dialogue in the book sometimes confused me, especially because I was paying minimal attention to detail in the first place. That then caused me to miss the minor details that ended up being rather important. At most times I was very confused as to what character was talking, or what character was being described. Also, some of the words or sometimes even the formation of sentences just completely lost me. At that point is where I would begin to just read without paying attention, for I had lost all hope of comprehension.
    However, I did like the way Joseph Conrad represented darkness in many different ways. In the beginning of the book while Marlow is telling his story he says "An eerie feeling came over me. She seemed uncanny and fateful. Often far away there I thought of these two, guarding the door of darkness the door of darkness, knitting black wool.Ave! Old knitter of black wool. Morturi te salutant" (Conrad 75). This is a reference to the darkness. Conrad is foreshadowing the darkness of the Congo. These women were the most interesting part of the entire book in my opinion, for they were all knowing, and they represented darkness. Many other things such as surroundings are also portrayed as dark and I liked how Conrad was able to tie the darkness into the story in many different ways.
    In conclusion, I thought that the book had good ideas. It was a good book for reading in school to analyze. However, the novella is not the type of literature that I would to read for fun on your own that you can really get into. I would not suggest this book because it takes a lot of focus to read, and it isn't very interesting. Most likely if it wasn't for Mrs. Drake I would never have read this book. However, if I was really into profound thoughts, had a very large vocabulary, and was interested in imperialism in the Congo, then it may have been possible to have a pleasant journey into the heart of darkness.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 31, 2010

    The Horror! The Horror!

    Imagine sailing into the unknown. Sound fun? Now imagine sailing into an unknown place where there is almost no moral standards and lots of doubt. Still want to go? As the eerie knitters would say "Morituri te salutant." (Conrad 75). Those are about to die, we salute you. Most opinions change doesn't it? By looking at the cover or even reading the first page of the novella readers may assume the book is about colonization and the upbringing of a new society. After reading awhile the people or victims will realize that they will have to be able to sense subtleties in Joseph Conrad's writing or their overall view of the book will be skewed from what the real idea is.
    The book is not nonfiction but is inspired by Conrad's life as a sailor, both for the French and British Merchant Marines. The book starts off with the crew sitting in a dark dock on the Thames waiting for the tide to take them to the Congo. Marlow, a mysterious sailor, sits with the rest of the men and starts to tell a story of his adventure to the Congo. It's really an insightful book that shows the reader that sometimes they have to look deeper into a person to find out their real character. It throws out the question to everyone, are your friends who you think they are?
    It's easy for readers to zone out in this book. At times it explains things in a short but sweet manner than most people could understand, but most of the time the book runs on in over detail about the most seemingly useless things. You think they're useless. It's another one of Conrad's subtleties. Again this book is written for students with great intellect and logic, not for the average student. The switching narrarators just make the story much harder to understand. Most of the book is told in Marlow's point of view, signified by quotation marks. If a reader is not paying attention it's easy to get lost. This book is basically mind numbing.
    Reading the book, even if readers know nothing about Conrad's life, they can relate conflicts in the book to Conrad's dark life. Readers get a real insight to how Conrad lived and in my opinion are much more valuable than any biography. We get to know him as a person, not just as a writer.
    I would recommend this to student looking for a book with a lesson. It can really teach a person who the valuable people in society truly are. For most teenagers though this book is impossible to finish. The type that kids would read the first page and just throw into their backpack never to be seen again. This book is unfailingly mind numbing and unclear. Those still willing to try, "Morituri te salutant." (Conrad 75), and careful don't be eaten into the heart of darkness.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 30, 2010

    Imperialism in 1890

    Joseph Conrad wrote the novel Heart of Darkness. He wrote it to show his own experience going to the Congo in 1890. It shows the horrors of imperialism. This book was one of the worst pieces of literature I have ever read. I could never get into the story. The introduction was horrible because it seemed like the author wasn't even trying to get me interested in the book. When the story starts it seems like it just talks about random things and has no plot.
    The book starts of talking about a boat in the Thames. Here the narrator introduces the main character Marlow who decides to tell his shipmates a story about his trip to the Belgian Congo. The narrator changes to Marlow who talks about how he got a job as the captain of a ship that had to go to the Belgian Congo. Marlow then learns that the original captain was killed by the natives.
    Instead of chapters the book is separated into three parts. The first part was just to introduce Marlow and show how he got the job. The second was to show the true feelings of characters toward Kurtz, one of the people with the most power in the company. In the middle of part one Kurtz is called a "universal genius"(Conrad 98), this gives Marlow the impression that Kurtz is an amazing man. After that, Marlow overhears a conversation between the Manager and his uncle. Marlow hears them talking about how much they hate Kurtz and that they want him to die. The third was to talk about Kurtz and how he was corrupted by greed.
    Conrad talks about how easily people can be corrupted and how the environment can affect the way you act. During Marlow's trip he realizes that everyone working for the company was only there for the money. They only cared about money even if their lives were in danger. Kurtz was the one who was corrupted by greed the most. He doesn't care what happened to anyone as long as he gets money. Not only did greed corrupt Kurtz but the environment had changed him, "But the wilderness had found him out early, and had taken on him a terrible vengeance for the fantastic invasion. I think it had whispered to him things about himself which he did not know, things of which he had no conception till he took counsel with this great solitude - and the whisper had proved irresistibly fascinating"(Conrad 138), this shows how the Congo had changed him from a civil Englishman to a savage.
    I would recommend this book to people who read and analyze books to find a deeper meaning in them because it has a lot of symbolism. This book isn't for people that enjoy reading books that are only written to entertain the reader.

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