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the literary work

1000 word essay on

Heart of Darkness (1902) by Joseph Conrad has become one of the most celebrated and effective novels to combine a psychological journey with a horrifyingly stark account of man’s potential for evil. In the movie Apocalypse Now Marlin Brando plays Kurtz, man who can ultimately exclaim, “The Horror. The Horror.”

Good/Evil: To any of you who have ever rooted for the bad guy, picked on someone smaller than you, or wanted that annoying driver in the other lane to drop dead, you know what it’s like to encounter your own heart of darkness – it can be disturbing. People, and that includes each of us, can be pretty horrible. The human race has been guilty of murder, brutality, torture, rape, and mass exterminations. Examples in today’s world are easy to find–the killing of twenty young children at Sandy Hook elementary school, the bombings at the Boston marathon, and so on. Consider your own potential for Evil or at the very least for having occasionally a “Heart of Darkness.”


1. Your literary response paper should give ample evidence that you have read and understood the literary work and have found a way to make it relevant to your life. Imagine your audience to be classmates who have not read the literary work. From your discussion they should be able to get a good idea of what the work is about—the general storyline, main characters and theme–perhaps information about the author. While the summary is important, the primary focus should be on your connection to the literary work, on how the themes of the literary works (not necessarily the literal details) are embodied in your life. See sample essays and instructions below.

As stated in the syllabus, you need to have a minimum of four direct quotations, both short and long (over forty words should be blocked in APA/MLA format) from the literary work with appropriate Works Cited or References. These need to be formatted correctly in either MLA 7th edition or APA style. “A” papers will probably exceed minimum requirements.

2. Occasional citations from sources other than the literary work are possible but unnecessary: stay focused on the literary work you have chosen.

3. Length: 1000 words or so.


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