English 11 -- "Global" Novel

Fall 2001

Amardeep Singh


Paper #1

Due Wednesday, September 26

Length: 4 pages, double-spaced




1.      Why do people go out, into the world? How does the act of leaving home and traveling to distant horizons help a person define him or herself? Is it an escape from one's responsibilities or something else? What does traveling have to do with concepts like imperialism and colonialism? In either Heart of Darkness or Dark Princess (but not both), explore the protagonist's use of traveling as a vehicle for self-definition. I strongly encourage reference to one or more of the keywords we have begun to talk about in the course. Since both Marlow and Matthew Towns have relationships of one sort or another to imperialism, think about how their respective voyages of self-discovery might relate to this political dimension. 


2.      Open topic. If you follow this route, keep in mind that your paper must respond substantially to one of the two novels we have read (preferably not both). Moreover, I would strongly encourage you to keep in mind the primary issues we have discussed in the course so far. Here are a few suggestions in skeletal form:


--Civilization/Savagery. How are these two terms defined in Conrad's novel?

--European Racism vs. the "darker peoples." Is the reverse 'racialism' in Dark Princess empowering? Or is it a mistake?

--Is Dark Princess a sexist book? How does the theme of gender in the novel overlap with its critique of racism?

--Are the women in Heart of Darkness really "out of it," as Marlow suggests at one point? What is the meaning of the two women characters in the novel?

--Worldliness/Globality. Images of the "whole" world are important in both of these novels, but in quite different ways. What is the nature of the image of the world in Conrad or DuBois?