Heart Of Darkness Thesis Statements

Topic #1
Marlow’s conflicting feelings toward Kurtz depend on a number of things. Sometimes he admires him, other times he denounces him. Write an essay analyzing these opposing feelings.

I. Thesis Statement: Based on Kurtz’s actions and ideas, Marlow’s feelings toward him alternate between admiration and reprehension.

II. Feelings of admiration
A. Kurtz’s talents
1. Obtained ivory
2. Organized the natives to work for him
3. Wrote of his experience and honestly evaluated them
B. Idolatry for Kurtz
1. Natives performed sacrifices in his honor
2. The Russian worships him
3. Marlow honors Kurtz’s memory to protect him

III. Feelings of reprehension
A. Kurtz abandoned morality
1. Killed people who opposed him (heads on poles)
2. Threatened to kill the Russian over ivory
B. Kurtz shows little restraint
1. Covets ivory and its importance
2. Regards the natives as inferior people—“Exterminate all the brutes” he wrote in his report
3. His methods are “unsound”

IV. Conclusion: Depending on what aspect of Kurtz Marlow considers, his feelings vary from one extreme to the opposite, from respect to revulsion.

Topic #2
Who is the main character in Heart of Darkness, Marlow or Kurtz? Develop an argument showing how each one can be viewed as the main character.

I. Thesis Statement: Marlow and Kurtz each can be considered the main character. One cannot exist without the other.

II. Kurtz is the main character
A. He is Marlow’s goal
1. Marlow becomes obsessed with meeting Kurtz along the journey
2. Kurtz represents a side of Marlow that he is afraid to become
B. All the people and action revolve around Kurtz
1. The chief accountant, manager, and other company workers deal with Kurtz
2. All the ivory trading goes back to Kurtz

III. Marlow is the main character
A. As narrator, Marlow’s story is more important
1. Marlow’s feelings and judgment govern what the reader knows
2. The story shows his change after the journey
3. Marlow is in the entire novella, Kurtz isn’t
B. Marlow makes Kurtz a great figure
1. Only Marlow admires Kurtz in an extreme way
2. After Kurtz’s death, Marlow keeps him alive by preserving his memory

IV. Conclusion: An argument can be made for either Marlow or Kurtz as the main character.

Heart of Darkness vs. Apocalypse Now Essay

816 Words4 Pages

In Heart of Darkness and Apocalypse Now, both Joseph Conrad and Francis Ford Coppola create similar statements through their creations as they both centralize their views upon the effects of environmental changes that affect the human condition. The film Apocalypse Now vaguely reflects a similar message pursued by Conrad’s novella, due to the difference in time period, place setting, and circumstances in which the film was created. Conrad wrote his novella during British colonization, focusing upon imperialism. Coppola’s film similarly focused upon the barbaric nature of man, which demonstrates the insanity of the Vietnam War. In Heart of Darkness, Conrad centers his main focus upon the journey of Marlow, a sailor, who travels into…show more content…

Kurtz’s lack of restraint and hunger for ivory consumes not only his soul but drains all of his physical existence. Upon seeing him, Marlow states, “I could see the cage of his ribs all astir, the bones of his arm waving (126)”. Conrad focuses on the physical features of Kurtz to display the madness that has consumed him. However, though Kurtz’s body is deteriorating, Kurtz’s mind continues to thrive. Conrad shows this in Marlow’s shock of witnessing a flame of passion that remains in Kurtz’s eyes as he converses without signs of exhaustion (126). Conrad continues to describe Kurtz as a shadow composed of tranquility and satisfaction. Conrad’s incorporation of this detail signifies the evil and greed that consumes Kurtz and is reflected through his physique. However, the power of Kurtz’s presence is personified through the action of his words. As the strength in his voice captures Marlow’s attention, it merely reflects his influence upon his followers. The power reflected through his voice displayed his confidence as well as his position as a leader for the natives. Hi demeanor displays an air of arrogance that makes others feel less equal to him. Those who follow him fear him, but also continue to respect him. In Apocalypse Now, Coppola creates a similar, however unique parallel structure as Willard meets Kurtz.

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