Motifs and Themes Analysis
Instructions: For this analysis, choose a motif or a theme you identified in Heart of Darkness. (Feel free to go beyond those identified in the lesson!) Consider how the theme or motif you have selected is developed or used throughout the novella. Fill in the blank with your focus for this assignment.
Provide at least three quotations that contain or contribute to your theme or motif, include their location, and explain in detail their function, significance, or effect on any of the big ideas and ultimately meaning. Do not paraphrase or summarize the quotation. A sample has been provided for you. *If you choose a motif or theme from the lesson, choose quotations not covered in the sample or the lesson.*
SAMPLE for the motif of darkness.
“A haze rested on the low shores that ran out to sea in vanishing flatness. The air was dark above Gravesend, and farther back still seemed condensed into a mournful gloom, brooding motionless over the biggest, and the greatest, town on earth” (Conrad I)
Marlow describes the “mournful gloom, brooding motionless” and “dark” air hovering over the city of London to establish the setting and mood of the novella. The haze and the darkness challenge the ability to see and have one’s bearings; perhaps the author wants his readers to feel just as disoriented about what is truly “dark” and does so with descriptions such as this one. The “condensed” dark air “brooding” over London, the “greatest town on earth,” establishes an immediate heaviness and functions as foreshadowing for the truth that will be revealed—about London, civilization, and humanity.
Motif or Theme focus: _______________________________________________________