LIB Week 2 DQ 1


Discussion for       Week 2

Reading: Heart of Darkness (Complete       novel. p. 51-182 in the Google Books edition) = 131 pages
In the poem “The White Man’s Burden”, Rudyard Kipling portrays the idea       that Europe and America had an obligation to shine the “light” of       civilization into the “darkness” of “savage” places like Africa. Most       scholars see Joseph Conrad’s novel Heart       of Darkness as a critique of this imperialist       project. Discuss Conrad’s attitude toward British imperialism, paying       particular attention to the way Conrad plays with images of light vs.       darkness and civilization vs. savagery. What exactly does Conrad think is       the problem with imperialism? What is the “horror” that the character       Kurtz refers to with his dying breath? Be sure to cite specific passages       from the text that support your interpretation. Once you have a clear       understanding of the text, you can move on to evaluation and application.       For example, you may wish to discuss ways that Conrad’s novel expresses       racist attitudes that might undercut his attempted critique of       imperialism. In other words, you may wish to discuss how Conrad is an       example of Edward Said’s concept of “orientalism.” Or you may wish to       discuss other examples of orientalism you see in today’s culture.