Heart of Darkness - Study Guide

Progeny Press
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#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!

Progeny Press English/Language Arts curriculum will provide your High School grade student with:

English/Language Arts credit: This is a one-quarter credit high school level Literature curriculum.
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: Understand 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 Progeny Press' Language Arts unit lessons are written from a Christian worldview!

Features and Benefits of a Progeny Press ELA study guide

 Printed Workbook Format

  • Large 8.5x11 format is convenient to read and easy on tired teenage high school student's eyes
  • Every question in our novel unit study has plenty of whitespace for high school level 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
  • Complete, removable answer key included for the teacher to make grading simple!

 CD Format

  • Provides the study guide in universally compatible PDF format (works on Mac AND Windows)
  • No costly software purchases necessary
  • Our PDF 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 ELA PDF guide at once
    • Print single literature lessons or pages as the student completes them
    • Print multiple copies of the entire curriculum study guide for classroom sets
  • PDF format makes it easy to use with multiple students
  • Complete answer key PDF file included for the teacher!

Formatted with your High School grade student in mind, Progeny Press language arts study guides divide the book into writing assignments and lessons that strengthen their reading comprehension, vocabulary, and refines their critical analysis and writing skills. Each Progeny Press novel study accomplishes all of this without busy work that can drain the fun out of reading and literature! Kids have loved using Progeny Press ELA curriculum in homeschool, co-ops, and private schools around the world for over 30 years!

Recommended Grade Level:
Colonial Congo, Africa, 1890
World Literature, Historical Literature
Study Guide Page Count:
47 pages
Study Guide Author:
Bethine Ellie
For the Book By:
Joseph Conrad
Workbook ISBN:


  • 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.