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Heart of Darkness

Average Rating 3.5
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

17 out of 17 people found this review helpful.

YOU MUST READ! But only with help...

The Book Heart of Darkness was a very well thought out story. I would not have understood any of the book without someone to guide me through, but when someone guided me then it made sense to me. I would not recommend this book to anyone in high school or even college u...
The Book Heart of Darkness was a very well thought out story. I would not have understood any of the book without someone to guide me through, but when someone guided me then it made sense to me. I would not recommend this book to anyone in high school or even college unless you have someone who has experience and can explain the book to you. There is a crew on a ship called the Nellie Waiting for the tide of the Thames River to push them out to sea. One of the crew members names is Marlow, and he is telling a story about his experience in Africa. The reason this book was confusing to me is beacuse there are two stories being told at the same time. This book changed the way I read books beacuse it makes you pay attention to every littkle detail in books and it takes you to another level.

posted by 125454984615984 on February 8, 2011

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Most Helpful Critical Review

4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

Excellent book-terrible e-book

This is a wonderful story. However, this edition of the book on my nook is terrible. There are misspellings and improper punctuation that are not in the original paper edition(s). Definitely not for a student who needs to quote passages.

posted by Anonymous on March 2, 2013

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  • Posted February 10, 2010

    The Heart of the Matter

    My advanced high school English course read Heart of Darkness this school year. At first look, the book appeared to be dull and uninteresting. After learning about Joseph Conrad's life as a seaman, I couldn't expect any less than a book about a seaman's adventure. Needless to say I was wrong about my first assumption. Old as it may be, this enlightening story is far from tedious.
    As we began reading the book, we started with some background notes. We made predictions and all I could draw from the book at that point was that it would be about an adventure at sea. We also questioned why Conrad used a quote from Rumplestiltskin as an epigram at its beginning. I figured out after reading it that he put it there to set the moral of the story; a human life is worth more than all the riches in the world.
    The story is set with Marlow, the main character, on the boat. He is talking about his adventure to meet the incomparable Mr. Kurtz, to his other shipmates and us the readers. The things he saw and the people he met filled this lively journey in to the heart of darkness. That being said, my one prediction was definitely being met while reading this book.
    As Marlow, the main character's, story unraveled paragraph by paragraph I started to understand what mental torture he was going through. It's a story you have to read slowly to get every single clue. Every part of the puzzle is crucial to understand this particular work of literature. I must say that it made an impact on me. It sharpened my reading comprehension skills and made other books much simpler in comparison. I know for sure that I will remember it, as I get older. I would most certainly recommend this book to anyone looking for a complex book to challenge them, and the movie as a companion.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 10, 2012

    A great novel needs to take a toll on the reader. Works of darkn

    A great novel needs to take a toll on the reader. Works of darkness,
    oppression, and horror of this sort can easily become kitch and misuse
    the emotive pathos of wretched acts. This one stays plenty cohesive
    and focused. Conrad expertly reflects on the core of evil and plight.
    His expression of sin relentlessly strikes the reader with pain and
    embarrassment in one's species; in one's world. The quest for Kurtz
    parallels Conrad's descent into the heart of the matter as he gets
    closer to his ultimate revelation about the utter power of evil, or
    horror, of darkness. We find it is beyond humanity, it seethes from
    the maw of nature. If these themes seem relevant or intriguing to you,
    I recommend this powerful accomplishment of a novel.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 15, 2010

    A nice Challenge

    Heart of Darkness, written by Joseph Conrad, was originally published in 1899.
    This book is a mystery where the captain of a steamboat, Marlow, needs to find the rapidly deteriorating Kurtz who has delved deep into the center of the ivory trade. Marlow captains his steamboat up the Congo River in the late nineteenth century encountering new experiences as he goes along on his journey to find the Kurtz who at this time he idolizes.
    The story progresses quickly, as it is a novella, but because of this it can also be difficult to understand. Though it does progress quickly it does follow through without detours. In the novel the characters also change in their own ways. Marlow, who is also the narrator, changes his viewpoints and ideas of the world. Meanwhile Kurtz has been dwelling in the jungle and has changed everything to a complete opposite of what he was before. The jungle has almost reverted him to a more primitive human having a "heart of darkness" from the evil dealings in which he has partaken. The novella follows through these changes and helps a reader understand the plight of people turning to vices during this period when there is no structure.
    As the narrator is a captain, the novella is written in an English maritime style of writing using diction of the seas. The novel contains many nautical terms, which may confuse some readers but with patience they could be understood. This diction helps set the mood of being on a ship and helps the reader come close to living the story.
    I think most high school students would be able to read this book, although more reluctant readers will have a little more trouble wading through the diction and following the story.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 14, 2014


    Eh. Yeah, probably. But I'm bot the greatist conversationalist, eaither.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 7, 2013

    Okay book no plot

    Another classic with no plot.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 28, 2013

    For english class

    This was a pretty good book. I did this one for my ap lit class and then we watched the re telling apocalypse now didnt like the movie by itself but really good with the book. Lots of literary devices to look for and double meanings are alwys fun

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 19, 2013

    Put in the effort

    I wont lie, the book is a bit hard to get into. But once you start to really grasp the concept of its meaning, you will find yourself understaning conrads message which is a grest one. Deff re read and re read. Put some thought into what you think hes trying to express. Glorification of captaincy perhaps? Or maybe how death takes its toll on people. Read for yourself and see what you come up with.

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  • Posted July 12, 2012

    The Wages of Sin

    As a classic, much has already been written about this great Novella. I would like to contribute a slightly different perspective. Although I’m sure this was not Conrad’s intention, the next person that expresses their doubt concerning “Original Sin,” I’m going to recommend this book. I believe Kurtz to be a man that really does “believe in himself,” and more importantly, believes the grandiose praise other’s lavish on him. Therefore, when he lives the conventions of his contemporary life for the “otherworldly” barbarism of the Congo, his sin and concupiscence goes into overdrive. This is a story about the converse of the missionary that goes into the “Heart of Darkness” in order to bring the Light of the World.

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  • Posted July 4, 2012

    My sophomore year in high school (this past year) my English tea

    My sophomore year in high school (this past year) my English teacher made my entire class read this book, as part of our year's line up. When he introduced us to it a couple months in, he confessed that after creating the reading list, he went back, saw this book on it, and thought to himself "What have I done?" He then proceeded to caution us about what a difficult read this is, and how we should be very attentive, and patient with it, assuring us all along that it would be worth the extra effort we would have to put in to fully grasp its concepts.
    I'm not sure whether it was that warning that made the book so difficult for me, in a sort of power-of-suggestion way, or if it truly is just a difficult read, but I know that if I hadn't had my English teacher there to walk me through every phrase of the book, I would've been lost. I felt lost as it was, but I do feel like I gained something from reading it, which isn't nothing!
    In short, read it. Read it again, and again, and again and I can promise you, each time, you'll find something you missed before. It's layer upon layer of meaning, and if you're looking for a book that will stay with you--constantly tugging at your thoughts and daring you to return for more--then here it is! When I think of this book, I think of Chess Titans. You play level one until you're really good and never lose anymore. Then you move to level two, and play until you're really good and never lose. Then level three, then four, then five, then six, then seven, then eight, then nine, then ten. And by ten, you're amazing! Just replace 'level' with 'layer' and you have HoD.
    Worth it. Read it.

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  • Posted October 13, 2011

    A study in darkness

    Conrad's Heart of Darkness is a relatively short but dense story full of dread and awe. The novella evoked similar feelings from meas 19th century gothic novels like The Italian by Radcliff and The Castle of Otranto by Walpole. There is even a little bit of otherworldliness to the story similar to H. P. Lovecraft stories, particularly in the character of Kurtz.

    The novella is separated into three sections, each of which addresses a different form of darkness with each successive section becoming more terrifying (I'm using the old 19th century gothic sense of the word, see Ann Radcliffe's "On the Supernatural in Poetry"). In the first section, the darkness addresses the mystery of the the unknown jungles of the Congo river basin. This darkness is more adventurous and even inviting. It is the type of darkness that has drawn explorers across time to discover new lands and peoples and fill in those blank spaces on the map. The second section addresses the darkness of African colonialization. In this section we get to see the horrible and dark actions of one group of people against a weaker. The final section is more personal and perhaps the darkest as it explores the individual's capacity for internal darkness.

    With only a few paragraphs at the beginning and end of the novella, the entire book is narrated by Marlow and therefore takes on the speech patterns and idioms of an English river-boat captain. Consequently the writing style is a little hard to follow at times. One has to pay special attention as well as Marlow tends to jump forwards and backwards with no transition.

    Heart of Darkness is a novella that will stick with me for quite some time to come. I anticipate it will be a book I read more than once in the coming years. If you enjoy 19th century gothic novels, Kafka, or Lovecraft I believe you will find much to like in this book.

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  • Posted October 15, 2010

    Highly recommended for literature lovers

    In Joseph Conrad's novel Heart of Darkness, Conrad uses many literary devices that drive the reader through a deep and intricate path of symbolism. Just as Marlow is lead through a winding journey in Africa. Readers are lead, by Conrad's imagination, through the intricate and "wild" pages. Conrad describes the event of Charlie Marlow's trip, travelling deep into the heart of Africa on the Congo River. Conrad expresses, through vivid descriptions, the accounts of Marlow living in a dark and dangerous place. Marlow finds himself in search of a man called by the name Kurtz. Throughout passages, Kurtz is seen as a near godly figure to the men in which Marlow speaks to. Conrad also mentions Kurtz's fiancée or his "intended" as perhaps a visual to display that Kurtz has a heart and a love. In Heart of Darkness, packed full of symbolism, Conrad shows the savage nature in man when he is thrust into the danger zone. As Kurtz is found in the depths of Africa, living more savage than man, it causes depression for Marlow. The idol he had previously looked forward to meeting now sported the heads of his enemies placed atop his buildings. Also while encountering Kurtz and his "savage" army, Marlow learns of Kurtz's infatuation of a native female. This may show how skewed Kurtz's heart has become, to forget his love at home. Following the arrival of Marlow's steamboat, was an attack of Natives obeying Kurtz's orders. Though this book contains no beacon of hope for mankind, I found it enjoyable. Reader that find entertainment in deeply woven literary devices should consider reading the Heart of Darkness. Readers should be able to comprehend deeper meaning than simply what is written, this novel will be very enticing if readers are willing to be active readers.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 30, 2009

    The Heart of the Novel

    Long before I would have put ¿Heart of Darkness¿ down but curiosity kept me going, the futility of this book is surprising. Marlow¿s desperate attempts to save everyone come up short in the end. His final act of futility was to save the feelings of an ignorant betrothed. He committed a sin in his eyes succumbing to the darkness. I myself did not master this book but it might receive a second chance. Although not every detail made sense the book was well liked in my point of view. I did not fully understand that reading this book would be of great use of me later in my life, but now I do. <BR/>The way Conrad makes you think out every hidden detail is truly amazing. For every part there seemed to be an underlying meaning. The jungle itself was something completely different then depicted. From the very beginning you are surprised with every turn the book takes. Almost like your bending around every turn yourself. The amount of power your brain uses to interpret this book always keeps you on the edge of your seat.

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  • Posted January 30, 2009

    Heart of Darkness

    I think this book, Heart of Darkness, will get easier as we read on because we will learn how to ¿read between the lines.¿ My expectations of this book are that it will teach us to understand what we read so we can comprehend the text better than the past books that we have read. From what we have read so far, I think I will like the book. I think I have a good chance of ¿mastering¿ the book, as long as we are going over the text as we read. Just like what we are doing now. I think that Marlow will finally get the rivets that he needs for his boat so he can keep going up the river to see Kurtz. I think this book will help us to look deeper into things. To read in between the lines, so to speak. I think that I will have to remember the story for the near future. My expectations were met. I have become a better reader and I am able to understand the text a lot better than before. After reading this book, I have become more interested in reading more books and stories. I think Rumple Stilskin was related to this by, Rumple wanted a human more than anything in the world, and Marlow wanted to meet and know Kurtz more than anything in the world. But both stories had the theme ¿futile.¿ Because, when Rumple got the human, he lost it almost as soon as he got it. And in Heart of Darkness, Marlow met Kurtz, and as soon as he met him, and talked to him, Kurtz died. So they are both similar in a way. <BR/>I honestly recommend reading the book over then watching the movie, even though I prefer to watch the movies. But I can¿t make a true recommendation because I didn¿t watch the whole movie because I was out sick. But from what I have seen, it left out so key parts. Like the girl in the painting blind-folded, and holding the torch. In the movie, the girl wasn¿t blind-folded or holding a torch.

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  • Posted January 28, 2009

    Heart of Darkness

    Heart of Darkness is based on author¿s, Joseph Conrad, own adventures through the Congo. It is told through the perspective of Marlow, a character which Conrad believes to personify himself in his own literature. Conrad¿s style of writing is, at first, extremely difficult to understand. When beginning to read, I thought him to write his story with an almost frustrating obscurity. Though as time progressed, his dictation became clearer and clearer as I caught on to his approach to literature, which requires the reader to read between the lines throughout the book. The story turned out to have an exciting plotline, underlined with Conrad¿s opinions and significant symbolism covering subjects from views of women to ideas of society and civilization. Though the book is short, it is definitely not a simple, relaxing, weekend read. I would recommend it to anyone looking for a noteworthy book to read, as it would surely open your mind to not only an interesting adventure, but a thoughtful style of writing.

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  • Posted January 28, 2009

    Heart Of Darkness

    The Heart of Darkness is definitely a challenging novel. Some people may have a difficult time reading it. The novel starts with Marlow in a boat on the Thames River discussing his time in Africa. The entire novel is based around Kurtz. He is described as an evil man who is a major leader in the ivory trade. Throughout this novel Marlow is determined to meet Kurtz because he simply wants to have a conversation with the man. There were many obstacles that needed to be overcome. <BR/><BR/>Joseph Conrad did a fine job writing Heart of Darkness. Though his writing is hard to comprehend at first, overtime the reader will become more use to his style of writing and can start to read with a better understanding. When reading Heart of Darkness you will need to be able to read between the lines in order to pick up on many things. <BR/><BR/>Although it is a challenging read I would recommend that everyone attempt to read it. This novel helps you to grow in your reading skills and become a better reader. This novel may be tough at times and you will want to put it down and stop. I would recommend that you do not give up and keep on going until the end and I think that you will be very satisfied. I think that this novel is an excellent book to check off of your list of books you have read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 29, 2008

    A very challenging and interesting read.

    Upon reading Heart of Darkness, I was overwhelmed by its quality. It was pleasurably complicated, its fantastic amount of detail painting a picture in your mind, a picture full of a dark beauty. Conrad did a marvelous job of altering Marlow¿s personality as you read, revealing how the man was succumbing to the darkness that he had willingly stumbled into, yet never expected. It was a very suspenseful novel, the extraordinary literary work capturing you in an instant and refusing to let go. Heart of Darkness has hidden messages, buried meaning. You will likely be required to read it several times before you can uncover even half of the messages that are present throughout the book. This does not, however, take away from the experience. In fact, it adds to the suspense, to the mystery. To put so much hard work into a mere 76 pages, to hide so much within seemingly every paragraph, is true talent. It tells of human nature, a constant need for more than what we have, and of how the light in us can be smothered by dark cravings. A character that truly captures your attention¿besides Marlow, of course¿is Kurtz. It is said that genius and madness are two sides of the same coin, and Kurtz is proof. It is clear from the beginning that he is corrupt and mad, yet his wisdom reveals that he is not a man to trifle with. His knowledge of the darkness he faced is almost¿eerie. Marlow¿s obsession with him is understandable¿little else was mentioned as he traveled from work station to work station. Kurtz was a wretch, a liar, a murderer¿ Yet he was viewed among the savages as a god. He was talented a genius, it would seem. This is a fantastic read for those who enjoy a mysterious, dark challenge. The characters and their personalities seem to open a door to your own soul. I think we can all find a bit of Marlow and Kurtz within us. As my teacher once said, ¿One can never know what is good until they have witnessed what is evil.¿

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 3, 2008

    Heart of Darkness

    Heart of Darkness, the novel, is a fantastic work of literature. It is a novel from the 1800s about one mans travel through the Congo River during the ivory trade era. While traveling, his sanity is tested to the full extent. When not one man comes back quite sane, the futility is high. This book is an extremely difficult read and if your comprehension is weak, then I don't reccomend this novel to you however, if you have a love for antique novels and adventure along with a challenge, then i highly reccomend this novel for you.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 22, 2007

    An Outstanding book...after Part 1.

    Joseph Conrad¿s epic short novel is full of thematic images and, at times, complex figurative language that ultimately characterizes it as a strong story and a piece with a substantial degree of literary merit. Despite any sort of initial reactions to the book as being a simple '75 page' short story, once I dug myself into the book, it became immediately clear the amazing control of the literary language that he possessed in writing this book. The brilliance in the contrasting images and ideas in the novel help the reader illustrate the impact that each repetitive concept had on the overall outlook on the story. Perhaps the biggest and more obvious contrasting images are the extended use of both light and darkness throughout the novella. Their interpretation can expand on several different aspects of the story. The ¿light¿ can be characterized as the English voyagers who have sailed to Africa on their quest of obtaining vast amounts of the valuable ivory that is found around the country. From one group¿s perception on Conrad¿s thematic ¿light¿, this may be the case. However, others may believe that the term ¿light¿ could be referred to the peaceful tranquility of England before the introduction of the booming Industrial Revolution. This would then leave one to wonder just where the paradox of light exists in the novel. Surely, there are several possibilities, neither of which may be a wrong answer. Possibilities range from the slavery that is described through the eyes of Marlow on the actions of the white men on the black natives to the savagery of the natives on each other. Regardless of what perception the reader has on the ideas of the overall theme that Marlow tries to impose, the variety of possibilities is what makes this novella such a thrill to read. Granted, the first act may hold true the kind of boring, introductory stage that nearly all books must go through in the early stages of their piece. Beyond that however, the novel becomes very compelling as the story hunt for the mysterious man Kurtz is becoming clearer and clearer and the main character, Marlow, begins to realize the subtleties of the human behavior. This human behavior perhaps can be the outstanding theme in piece. Conrad utilizes a strong tension between two different cultures, and puts in a character, Kurtz, who appears to be the one that is the peacekeeper between the two. However, Conrad is able to instill the reader through the frame narrator Marlow of the nature of human existence and how greed can overcome people¿s minds and make them become very brittle and weak in return of the thing that they want. Through Marlow, the reader is able to almost completely see what Conrad is trying to display on the behavior of humans in this extraordinary, even short, novella.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 10, 2007

    A Tough but Rewarding Novel

    Heart of Darkness: The Novel by Joseph Conrad After being informed by my language teacher about just how difficult the reading of Heart of Darkness was going to be, I prepared myself for a hard-to-read book with deeply hidden messages. And that was exactly what the novel turned out to be. The grand use of vocabulary as well as the now aged language used in the book made it all the more difficult to decipher the true meaning Joseph Conrad was trying to get across. However, we tackled the immensely difficult book as a class, section by section and sentence by sentence. By doing so we progressed at a steady pace through this book, reading out loud and discussing in depth what each section of reading meant to us. I believe this is the only way to accomplish grasping the intended messages in the novel and I do not recommend trying to read this book any other way. Still I do recommend undertaking the highly informative story. On the surface it seems to be an amazingly adventurous trek through the deadly labyrinth of the African continent but in turn expresses the feelings Conrad had towards the events and actions taking place in Africa during his era. As I have said several times, in order to interpret those hidden messages it is vital to have assistance from others reading the book as well and to discuss the various meanings of the story. But I recommend reading Heart of Darkness to get a true perception of just what was taking place in the time this book was written.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 30, 2007

    Can't Have One Without the Other

    When reading the book Heart of Darkness, I found that the novel was very complicated and difficult to understand. But, when I watched the movie, it was not as hard to comprehend. I think that it all comes down to actually being able to see what is actually happening instead of having to interpret the complex writing of Joseph Conrad. The movie was also much more graphic than the novel. For example, in the novel when the spear was pierced into Mfumu¿s stomach, even though Joseph Conrad is known as a powerful author, I don¿t think that the pain that Marlow showed in the movie was expressed very well in the novel. When I read the novel, I didn¿t feel any emotions of sympathy for Marlow losing his friend, but when I watched the movie it became obvious that Marlow was sincerely grieving the loss of a good friend and I could see the pain that he was feeling. The novel didn¿t leave me with a great understanding for any hidden symbolism I merely just understood the bare minimum of what occurred in the book. I believe that it is wise to read the novel prior to watching the movie. I feel that I had a grasp on the basic concepts of the book and that the movie just cleared up some of the parts that were difficult to understand when I read it. Due to the complicated writing of Conrad, I don¿t think you can read the book without watching the movie or watch the movie without reading the book. I think that the two go hand in hand.

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