The final exam for our Heart of Darkness unit is scheduled for Thursday, February 18, 2016. Students will prepare to respond to one of the four essay prompts below. On the day of the exam, students will be allowed to use their book and one handwritten sheet of notebook paper's worth of notes. Students are advised to prepare one notebook page for each essay and to bring them all on test day where they will draw one of the essay topics randomly.
These are the questions:
- In many pieces of literature, the setting plays an important symbolic role in the thematic development. Explain the roles the settings play in developing one of the themes in Heart of Darkness.
- Authors often grapple with the essential questions of what leads people to commit evil and whether evil is inherent in all people. Explain Conrad's implications about the nature of evil in Heart of Darkness.
- When we come to the end of a novel or play, a consistent mood should have altered or intensified our consciousness of certain aspects of life. Discuss the mood of Heart of Darkness and point out ways in which it has intensified or altered your consciousness of history and/or certain aspects of modern reality.
- One definition of madness is "mental delusion or the eccentric behavior arising from it." But Emily Dickenson writes, "Much madness is divinest Sense--/ To a discerning Eye--." Novelists and playwrights have often seen madness with "a discerning Eye." Consider how a character's apparent madness or irrational behavior plays an important role in Heart of Darkness. Then write a well-organized essay in which you argue the extent to which this behavior is delusional or eccentric and how it might be judged reasonable. Explain the significance of the "madness" to the work as a whole. Do not merely summarize the plot.