Teacher Guide

Heart of Darkness Lesson Plan

Introduction to Heart of Darkness

Heart of Darkness is often called a novel, but it is technically a novella. Written by Conrad in the late 19th century, it was serialized in a magazine before being published. The story centers not on the overall narrator, but on a character, Marlow, who narrates an episode from his life. This narration is the bulk of the novella.

Marlow is an Englishman who worked for a Belgian trading company in the African Congo, as a fresh-water boat captain. Looking at themes of colonization and imperialism, the book traces Marlow’s journey through the literal darkness of the rain-forest, the metaphorical darkness of the inhumane treatment of Africans by European colonialists, and the darkness at...

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