Each student will write five (5) essays on elements of style found in The Heart of Darkness:
- details (concrete or abstract)
- figurative language
- figures of speech
- narrative devices
- point of view
- stylistic devices
Each essay must be a minimum of one typewritten, double-spaced, no-larger-than-12-font-sized, page long. Begin your essay with the definition of the element; then apply this definition in a general sense to the novel. The rest of the essay consists of specific details, quotations, plot and character references from the novella to prove your point about the particular element of style. Document internally citing chapter and page number. This essay is NOT to be written in a standard introduction-body-conclusion format. You are essentially writing several EXCELLENT paragraphs of commentary on the element. (This is good preparation for the Big Exam in May because you will need to focus on body paragraphs more intently than on flowery introductory and concluding paragraphs.) You will need to make brief introductory and concluding statements within each paragraph.
You will need to have a title page and a table of contents for your elements. Full credit is achieved in two areas: completion and content. Completion is based on having all five elements covered, each page written clearly and without errors in syntax, spelling, or grammar. The second grade is based on being able to defend clearly the assertions about the elements. For example, if you do not clearly define an element, or your thesis is unproved in your paper, you lose points. Incomplete projects will not be graded.
- Do not use Cliff's Notes or Sparknotes.
- Do not leave this until the night before.
- Do not use first person or other forbidden elements (consult an MLA guide as necessary).
Diction is the author's distinct word choice used to establish an idea within the work. Conrad uses diction in Heart of Darkness to portray the nature of death and mystery in the Congo. In the jungles of Africa, one can find "...death skulking in the air, in the water, in the bush..."(Signet 69). "Skulking" denotes death merely lying in hiding; however, its connotation depicts a more active role, waiting to seize its victims. By nature, death "lurks" in dark corners to conceal its "hidden evil" (Signet 105). It creeps up on its victims without being seen or anticipated. This "concealed" image of death depicted by Conrad's diction serves to intensify the fear of death and establish death's role in the novel. In the sunshine, "pure, uncomplicated savagery was a positive relief" (Signet 139). In the daylight, evil is "uncomplicated;" this connotes a simple danger known to all. It is a "relief" to know that the potential hazards are visible and are not going to be a surprise. Conrad also uses mysterious diction throughout the novel: "It had ceased to be... a white patch for a boy to dream gloriously over. It had become a place of darkness." The "white" connotates a blank space for the imagination to run. However...
Get the picture?