Choose your topics according to the directions in each of the two parts below. Be sure to identify each
of the topics to which you respond.
This is not a memory test. You should refer to the text of each novel for specific information to
support and illustrate your conclusions.
Conrad pointed out that "a work of art is very seldom limited to one exclusive meaning and not
necessarily tending to a definite conclusion." Consequently, each reader will reach his or her own
conclusions about the work and its significance, and each set of conclusions is, at least potentially,
equally valid. It is, therefore, essential that you, as a reader/critic, present your ideas as clearly and as
specifically as possible, so that your reader/instructor can understand what you have in mind, and
In writing each essay, state your main idea or thesis in the first paragraph. Explain your points clearly
and support those points with evidence in the remainder of the essay. Choose the strongest evidence
possible. After you have prepared your first draft, think back over the novel to make certain that you
have ignored no evidence that might contradict your argument. If necessary, revise the content and
improve upon the form of your first draft. Submit only your final draft.
Be sure to identify which topic you are covering in your exploration. After you have finalized the
essay content you will submit, copy it into the spaces provided. You will need to submit all the
essays in one document for Project 1.
Part I: Heart of Darkness
Read the following three topics carefully. Select the topic that you feel most comfortable with or feel
that you can do the best, most specific job of developing. Then write your essay, following the
directions and guidelines provided above.
1. Discuss the qualities Marlow has that enable him to survive the Congo experience, and contrast
those with the qualities of other characters who either do not survive or are clearly cracking up.
2. Heart of Darkness is superficially the story of one person's rather unusual experience in the
Congo, yet Conrad seems to want it somehow to be applicable to an understanding of ourselves
and our place in the world. What does Conrad do to transform the story of one person to a story
that has significance for people generally?
3. Heart of Darkness is about a number of closely related ideas- the dark forces within the
individual, the evils at the root of civilization, the requisites for survival in a hostile universe.
Choose one of the above ideas and analyze what Conrad is telling the reader about it.
If you have not yet done so, study Lessons 3 and 4 before you continue to Part II of this project.
(Add Part I Essay here)
Part II: Sons and Lovers and Portrait of the Artist
Select one topic from each of the following groups of topics. Thus, for this part of the project, you
will write two essays.
1. How convincingly does the end of Sons and Lovers, where Paul turns toward light and life after
his "drift toward death," seem? What does Lawrence do to make Paul's change of mood plausible-
how, if at all, does he motivate Paul's change?
2. Restate, in your own words, Stephen's theory of art as presented in his conversation with Lynch
(Chapter Five of Portrait of the Artist) and relate that theory to his own poem, "Are you not weary
of ardent ways," also in Chapter Five.
3. Discuss the evidence in the second half of Portrait of the Artist that Stephen is acquiring his
freedom from his past. Particularly note the ways in which the emotions attached to motifs have
changed, the changing use of mythic references, or Stephen's increasing independence of
1. Using details not cited in the commentaries, compare and contrast the characters of Paul and
2. Decide which novel–Sons and Lovers or Portrait of the Artist–you think is better written (it may
or may not be the novel you personally enjoyed more). Defend your choice with evidence from
(Add Part II Essay here)
Submitting Your Project
When you have finished your project, save it as .rtf (Rich Text format) before submitting. Remember
to keep a copy in your word processing files for future reference.
When you are finished reviewing or revising, submit this project to your instructor for evaluation and
response using the Assignment Manager tool. (See the Assignment Manager section of the CIS
Information page if you have questions on how to do this.)