Lord of the Flies

by William Golding

The Hired Girl

Laura Amy Schlitz

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Heart of Darkness

Heart of Darkness

Author: Joseph Conrad

Year: 1902

Famous for: THE HORROR! THE HORROR!

Main character: Marlow, a ship’s captain who encounters lots ‘n lots o’ darkness during his journey into the heart of Africa.

The scoop:

If you’ve seen the movie Apocalypse Now, you already have a pretty good idea of what goes on in Joseph Conrad’s novel, Heart of Darkness. If you haven’t seen it, or you just need a refresher, check this out: Heart of Darkness traces the journey of a guy named Marlow, deep into the heart of the jungle.

Well, actually, the book isn’t quite as simple as that description makes it sound. Yes, sea captain Marlow does go on a journey. Yes, his journey does take him deep into the heart of 1800s Africa. But his journey takes him someplace metaphorical, too. It takes him deep into the darkness—the darkness of Europe’s imperialist adventures, the darkness of the “dark continent,” and most importantly, the darkness of the human soul.

And take it from us, that’s the thing you should really remember about Heart of Darkness. Because while you’ll spend a fair amount of time in this story smelling the stench of rotting hippo meat and hearing the beating of the natives’ drums, you’ll spend much more time inside Marlow’s head as he tries to come to terms with the rank evils he witnesses all around him. No wonder this book’s most memorable line is: THE HORROR! THE HORROR!

 

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