heart of darkness assignment 2010

Name ____________________________________________ Period ______ Date _____
by Joseph Conrad
Heart of Darkness has been considered for most of this century not only as a literary
classic, but as a powerful indictment of the evils of imperialism. It reflects the savage
repressions carried out in the Congo by the Belgians in one of the largest acts of genocide
committed up to that time. Conrad's narrator encounters at the end of the story a man
named Kurtz, dying, insane, and guilty of unspeakable atrocities. More recently, African
critics like Chinua Achebe have pointed out that the story can be read as a racist or
colonialist parable in which Africans are depicted as innately irrational and violent, and
in which Africa itself is reduced to a metaphor for that which white Europeans fear
within themselves. The people of Africa and the land they live in remain inscrutably
alien, other. The title, they argue, implies that Africa is the "heart of darkness," where
whites who "go native" risk releasing the "savage" within themselves. Defenders of
Conrad sometimes argue that the narrator does not speak in Conrad's own voice, and that
a layer of irony conceals his true views. (Paul Brians, Department of English, WSU)
1. Read Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad.
2. The novella is divided into three parts. For Part I, you will be responsible for a
series of quotes and questions. There will also be a quiz over all three parts. For
Parts II and III, you will be divided into two groups. Each group will be
responsible for leading a discussion over the novel.
3. Socratic Seminar Discussion requirements:
a. Create five open-ended questions that can be answered from the text. Please
be sure you include your answer and the page number(s) for reference
b. List five or more key quotes from the passage. List the page number for
reference. Be able to explain the importance of each quote.
c. Finally, find two “key” passages. Write a response about each of these
passages, explaining why you think they are important and what they reveal about
the themes and ideas of the section.
d. Socratic Seminar Evaluation will include the above assignments (with
answers) and participation in the actual discussion.
4. Everyone will be responsible for completing the following assignments:
i. Read, TPCASTT and respond in 250 to 300 words to “The Hollow Men” by
T.S. Eliot.
ii. Complete an explication (150 to 200 words) of a passage/quote from Heart of
iii. Complete a Web Quest and brief critical perspectives essay about the novel.
iv. Complete packet, questions, quizzes.
v. Participate actively in Socratic Seminar and class discussions.
Name ____________________________________________ Period ______ Date _____