Let’s get right down to it folks: I hate this book. I hate it with a burning passion, and I’m experiencing severe dislike for my English teacher for making me read this pile of shit. She’s a lovely lady, but I don’t understand why she hates me because there’s no other reason as to why she would make me suffer through this book.
I know that this is considered to be some great literary masterpiece, and in the words of my teacher, an existentialist novel but watching paint dry is more interesting than this novella.
I’ve read a lot of books that were written in the 1900s or set in the 1900s and dealt with racism but none of those books have made me nearly as uncomfortable as Heart of Darkness did. I know, I know, racism is a thing but that doesn’t make me any less uncomfortable by the amount of times the n word was used throughout this novel, or the many times where black people are referred to as “savages,” “enemies.”
Moving beyond that, after reading this entire book, word for word, page for page, I cannot tell you not onething about it beyond what my teacher talked about in class. After reading one entire page, I couldn’t tell you what happened on that page. There is a problem here when I can’t tell you what a book is about after reading it. I have no recollection of any of the events that happened in this book.
The story didn’t really go anywhere, there wasn’t a point to it, it was just Marlow talking about an adventure that he had which nobody asked to listen to in the first place. By the end of the story, I don’t think anybody on the ship with Marlow, besides the other narrator, even listened to what he said. I know I’m supposed to care about the events that occur and all the symbolism and stuff, but I couldn’t bring myself to care at all.
This is supposed to be deep and meaningful because it talks about human nature and the darkness in our hearts and yada yada yada but I don’t care.
I locked myself up in my room for days on end so that I could focus on this novella and absorb it and understand it, and I cannot tell you what happens in this story. I can’t believe trees actually died so this piece of shit work could be printed on it.
November.. uh was not a great reading (and tv shows) month. I only read 3 books and one of them was a re-read. Let just say that school drove me nuts! Anyway: here's my wrap-up (I posted my December tbr a bit early (woops) so if you're curious: click here):
- Cinder (Lunar Chronicles #1) by Marissa Meyer (re-read) + novellas 0.5 and 1.5 5/5 ★
- City of Heavenly Fire (The Mortal Instruments #6) by Cassandra Clare 3.5/5 ★ review series
- Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad 2/5 ★ review
Even watching tv shows wasn't that great. I watched the shows that are weekly on air: Expeditie Robinson, The Big Bang Theory, Americas Next Top Model (finale is this week omg!) and Nashville.
When it comes to other shows: I watched the first six episodes of Orange Is The New Black and I re-watched the first season of The Office (I'm not a huge fan of The Office so I don't think I'm going to continue) and Laguna Beach (lol). I also re-watched some episodes of Gilmore Girls (duh).
What have you read and watched in November?
'The mind of man is capable of anything - because everything is in it, all the past as well as all the future. What was there after all? Joy, fear, sorrow, devotion, rage - who can tell? - but truth - truth stripped of its cloak of time. Let the fool gape and shudder - the man knows, and can look on without a wink'
Marlow, a seaman, tells of a journey up the Congo. His goal is the troubled European and ivory trader Kurtz. Worshipped and feared by invaders as well as natives, Kurtz has become a godlike figure, his presence pervading the jungle like a thick, obscuring mist. As his boat labours further upstream, closer and closer to Kurtz's extraordinary and terrible domain, so Marlow finds his faith in himself and civilization crumbling. Conrad's Heart of Darkness has been considered the most important indictment of the evils of imperialism written to date.
I'm still glad I read this book, but I wish Conrad would have told it differently. I think even in a diary form would have been better + if Kurtz was based on a real polician. There were so many good quotes and morals in it though, so that's why I couldn't give it just one star. If there was a movie of it I would have watched that instead of reading the book though...
I understand why it's required reading at so many schools, but I wish it wasn't because if you're a non-reader you probably would not get into reading at all. Conrad could have told the story much better!
What is your opinion about Heart of Darkness?
I listened to this audiobook on Audible and loved every minute of it.
Back in college at UT (Austin) I was in a Shakespeare class and we were lucky enough to have members of the Royal Shakespeare company come to our class and perform, play music, and answer our inane questions about all things Elizabethan. First off, it was a good deal of fun. Second, it was like a window was opened, blinds were raised, and fresh air and light flooded what was a very dark and still room. Let’s face it, Shakespeare is difficult, especially if you are just reading him—after all, they are plays, not novels, and meant to be seen. The play, in this case Lear, suddenly came alive and, for myself at least, I can say that I felt that I was experiencing Shakespeare for the first time.
Through the artistry of those marvelous actors, I appreciated the drama, the emotion, and in many cases the absolutely hilarious lines of plays which for me before had always been interesting and beautiful but not alive. Just like a great musician with his or her talent will bring out unnoticed melodies in well known tunes, a great actor can bring out nuances in a character that you don’t get from just the printed page. They were there all along, but the three dimensional portrayal really allows that character to bloom.
It was certainly like this with Kenneth Branaugh’s reading of Heart of Darkness. I immediately looked for other books narrated by him. Actually, “narrated” is such a shallow word for what Branaugh brings to the performance. Yes, performance is a much better word. For several days in my car on my way to and from work, I was immersed in deep, dark, Africa and the horror of British colonization and Branaugh’s masterful performance that brought out the beautiful horror and depth of Conrad’s often difficult masterpiece, but also the humor and wit that was Conrad’s signature style that can be lost in a purely text format. Branaugh, just like those RSC actors, threw open the windows, raised the blinds and flooded light that illuminated this classic in all of its depth, profundity, and sympathy and emotional impact. I felt that I was experiencing this classic for the first time.
5 stars for Conrad’s genius and another 5 for Branaugh’s masterful performance.