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Heart of Darkness Teaching Unit
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- Discuss the significance of the title of this novel. State how you know the title is significant, and identify at least three things that the phrase “heart of darkness” may mean.
- A number of times, the river (the Congo) is described as a snake. In the Bible, the snake is an obvious symbol. Can you suggest any relationship between these two symbols?
- Conrad goes to some lengths to avoid using geographic place names. For example, although the reader knows he is referring to London, Brussels, Africa, and the Congo River, Conrad rarely mentions places specifically. Why do you suppose he avoids using their names?
- Why do you suppose Conrad uses a story-within-a-story framework? What might Conrad have been after by having Marlow tell his story to four friends rather than just having him tell the story directly?
- The novel begins and ends on a boat tied up in the Thames River. Identify the significance of the last line in the novel.
- Given his distaste for lies, are you surprised when Marlow lies to Kurtz’s fiancée? Why or why not? In the same situation, what would you have done?
- Ambiguity means a word that has more than one meaning, none of which is exactly clear. List at least three different ways the word “heart” is used in this novel. Write a short paragraph on each.
About this Document
A teaching unit and individual learning packet from Prestwick House. Includes the following: Comprehensive chapter-by-chapter study guides for students Questions suitable for essay topics or discussion Vocabulary lists Muliple-choice and essay test with answer key Introductory material from Prestwick House to familiarize both students and teachers with the work.