Critical Reading

 

you will select from one of the two possible theoretical schools, listed below, and develop a
reading of a few scenes of your choice in Heart of Darkness. You will also respond to another
critic’s reading of the text. Therefore, you must quote and analyze both Heart of Darkness and
the critic’s reading of the novel.
First, you will develop your own argument about the text, through the theoretical lens of your
choosing, and develop and argue a thesis around the theoretical lens you’ve chosen.
Remember that you are reading Heart of Darkness according to a specific theoretical school, so
you need to employ the discursive terminology of that school in your analysis.
Second, you will position yourself relative to the respective critic’s reading of the text. You will
develop a “yes/no/ok, but” response to the critic. You may either weave your response to the
critic throughout your analysis of the novel, or you may develop your argument about the novel
and towards the end of your paper you can write a section responding to the critic’s ideas.
Theoretical Schools and Critics:
Feminist/Gender Criticism: Smith, “‘Too Beautiful Altogether’: Ideologies of Gender and
Empire in Heart of Darkness”
Postcolonial Criticism : Brantlinger, “Heart of Darkness: Anti-Imperialism, Racism, or
Impressionism?

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