Heart of Darkness
By: Joseph Conrad
My Rating: Three out of Five Stars
Best for: 14 and up
I read Heart of Darkness as a buddy read with my HS senior who was assigned this slog of a book for her AP Lit class.
The good: it’s only 96 pages.
The bad: It’s boring as heck.
The message: British imperialism was bad. The-sun-never-sets-on-the-British-empire aristocrats were at best naive, at worst intentionally ignorant. It’s never a good idea to try and “civilize the natives.” Kind of refreshing that there were great thinkers during the height of the British Empire who got that.
The value as literature of a HS Lit Class: Um…They’re getting a well-rounded view of the power of books to spread opinion? Although I strongly suspect getting that message from reading this book is probably too nebulous to grasp for your average HS senior. The only message about books being delivered? See above. And below.
That being said, I was impressed by Conrad’s ability to write such a layered novel going after the world’s greatest super power. The guy was certainly bold–which I suppose is exactly the novel is so important. Not to mention his grasp off the English language…he was Polish, and I read that he didn’t learn English until he was in his 20’s.
The only content warning is a frequent use of the ‘N’ word and a 19th century view of women as decoration.