Heart of Darkness - Study Guide

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Click here for a sample section of The Heart of Darkness Study Guide!     Check out the E-Guide version, available immediately!     Get the book The Heart of Darkness HERE

#158 on the Big Read List (UK’s top 200), Great Books of the Western World, The Great American Read #83 (Top 100), 100 Best Novels Written in English #32.

In this classic short novel, Charles Marlow is a young man desiring adventure in exotic lands. With the help of an influential aunt, Marlow is assigned to be captain of a Belgian trading company's steamer in the Congo Free State (modern-day Zaire) of Africa. As he prepares to journey up the Congo River to the company's inner station, he hears tales about the station's manager, Mr. Kurtz, an ivory trader who has amazing power over the natives of the region.

Determined to meet this man, Marlow begins his journey. Instead of excitement and glamour, Marlow finds horror, and far up river, he encounters the mysterious Kurtz. Here, he sees what can happen when a man believes himself no longer accountable to society or God.

Content Warning: This title is recommended for mature readers!

Through Joseph Conrad’s gripping short novel, Heart of Darkness, students will learn:

Historical Background: The history of Zaire and the Congo River Basin, commercial trade interests in the region in the 1800s, exploration, Leopold II and the subsequent exploitation of the area.

Author Biography: Learn about Joseph Conrad.

Before-You-Read Activities: Mini colonialism research paper, write an author biography, write about ships and transportation, mapping, comparison mini paper.

Vocabulary words used throughout the novel, utilizing a variety of activities to stimulate retention and growth.

Literary Techniques: Foreshadowing, allusion, symbolism, death imagery, tone/mood, climax, theme, conflict, point of view, frame story, title analysis, pacing, repetition, lists, personification.

Moral Lessons and Character Values: Darkness vs. light in scripture, heart and mind of man, evil, accountability to others, choosing wise companions, true belief, relying on God, consider what true faith is, lying, self-control.

Activities and Writing Assignments: Character analysis, mapping journeys, compare/contrast ideas, time line story events, life lessons, passage analysis of tone, point of view change.

Suggestions for Further Reading:  We include an in-depth reading list of more books by the same author(s) and other books that tie in with, or are similar to, Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad. Movie suggestions included.

All of the unit lessons are written from a Christian worldview!

Features and Benefits of the study guide

 Printed Workbook Format

  • Large 8.5x11 format is convenient to read and easy on the eyes
  • Every question has plenty of whitespace for student’s answers
  • Encourages neat and clean handwriting practice
  • Easily transports without the need for a laptop or other expensive equipment
  • Provides a permanent record of the student’s work
  • Convenient, removable answer key included for the teacher!

 CD Format

  • Provides the study guide in universally compatible PDF format (works on Mac AND Windows)
  • No costly software purchases necessary
  • Our Interactive Study Guide should be opened with the FREE Adobe Reader program. With the interactive feature, students have the capability of entering their answers directly on the computer and saving their work in progress.
    Note: Mobile Devices/Tablets may require alternative app that supports and saves fillable form fields.
  • Or choose to conveniently print what you need, when you need it:
    • Print the whole guide at once
    • Print single lessons or pages as the student completes them
    • Print multiple copies of the entire guide for classroom sets
  • Easy to use with multiple students
  • Complete separate answer key file included for the teacher!
Recommended Grade Level:
10-12 recommended for mature readers
Colonial Congo, Africa, 1890
World Literature, Historical Literature
Workbook ISBN:
Study Guide Author:
Bethine Ellie
For the Book By:
Joseph Conrad
Study Guide Page Count:
47 pages


  • 5
    Love it, will continue to buy

    Posted by Vira G. on 23rd Sep 2015

    Love it, will continue to buy from Progeny Press. Thanks for helping to teach literature a little more easier.