There is a scene in the T.V. show "Freaks and Geeks" (I couldn't find the clip...) in which an English teacher asks a student about the book they're reading in class. Kim, the student, responds, "On the Road is about...America... and being...on the road." Well, now that we've started Conrad, I sort of feel the same way. Kim Kelly's Jack Kerouac is my Joseph Conrad.
Admittedly, Heart of Darkness is one of the hardest books we've read this year- for me at least. But even though I find Conrad at times almost incomprehensibly dense, I still marvel at the complexity and elegance of his language. Furthermore, the fact that English was not Conrad's first language amazes me, because he has a unique talent for writing coloquially and also capturing the comlexities of subconscious thoughts on human nature. He reminded me of what James Joyce taught me in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man: that language is a powerful art. I may not fully grasp Heart of Darkness yet, but I do think that Conrad has some pretty insightful, revealing observations about people that he communicates, intelligently, elegantly, and nobly, in his writing.
So, all I can really say about Heart of Darkness right now is that it's about...imperialism and...greedy Europeans and... did I mention imperialism? Okay, I understand it on a slightly deeper level than that. But despite Conrad's depth and complexity, I still appreciate the artfulness of his writing, and that counts for something in English class, right?