Heart of Darkness: Figure in History
In Heart of Darkness, we are reading about the ruthless nature of one man. Sometimes one individual rises up against others and not only defies civil behavior but acts completely against it for personal gain and power. Sometimes circumstances allow a person to create an empire of his (or her) own through ruthless ambition, and we get individuals like Genghis Kahn, Adolf Hitler, Saddam Hussein, Charles Manson, Jim Jones, and even King Leopold. Colonel Kurtz is on his way to creating such an empire himself when illness cuts him short. What makes such an individual achieve such power? Why do people, who clearly have the “power” in numbers, succumb to the will of one individual? Why is it that this one individual’s “brute force” overwhelms society and reverses the so-called rules of civilized behavior?Assignment:
Investigate a figure in history – aside from the ones just mentioned above – who managed to acquire great wealth and/or power by the manipulation and control of others. Consider his (or her) rise in power, how that power was sustained, and what brought it to an end. So the figure has to be from the past; his – or her – reign is over. Focus on why (in your thesis and drive of your paper) this person was able to accomplish what he/she did; in doing so, also consider why people not only succumbed to this individual’s will but also how so many came to even adopt his or her ideology.
1. Eight to ten pages, excluding the works cited page. (If your essay goes a little over ten pages, that’s fine; if
it is less than eight, that isn’t.)
2. The paper must follow proper MLA format and include a “Works Cited” on a separate page.
3. The paper must incorporate a minimum of at least six diverse sources in a combination of books,
periodicals, newspapers, etc. All your sources must come from the library databases; no internet sources are
permitted. ProQuest or CQResearcher or any library database that might be helpful to you are considered
non-internet sources. Do not use the novel, Heart of Darkness, to support your argument (it’s not relevant),
but one of your six sources must be Freud’s Civilization and Its Discontents since you are addressing a
conflict between a certain type of individual and a civilization. All other five or more sources must be of
your own discovery from the library databases.
4. In addition to the actual final draft itself, there are other requirements that are part of this assignment to help
you write a more thorough and effective research paper. These other requirements are on the syllabus, but
for the sake of clarity (so you understand what is due when), here is a list of all the component parts of the
research paper with due dates and point value:The final draft of the research paper – worth the remaining 165 points – must be submitted to me through Canvas before you begin the final exam at 5 pm on June 2. Total points to be awarded for each of these other requirements will be based on how effectively the assignment is completed. All assignments are due on the date given; no late papers will be accepted except in the case of a valid absence. A FULL rough draft must be submitted on Canvas for class review on May 28 to receive the 40 points (no late papers accepted here either); you cannot get adequate feedback on a “partial” argument, so face your fear and develop a full argument as best you can with thoughtful analysis and sources.
You will be devoting significant time to this research paper outside of our online classroom sessions. Again, gauge your time wisely between your other class and life commitments. I strongly urge you to make your choice and get started as soon as possible. Focus on coming up with a specific argument so you have a clear direction in which to go; if you don’t already have an idea once you’re into or have finished the novel, your research should help you find one.