Heart of the Apocalypse
Adapted by Linda Scott
|California Language Arts Content Standards|
|Standards Addressed in this Unit|
TEACHING AND LEARNING ACTIVITIESSelect and adapt these learning activities to best meet the needs of your students, and to fit the time available:
- Read Heart of Darkness and complete the
- Background research -
- Supporting character mind-maps:
the doctor, the accountant, the manager, the brick maker, the helmsman,
- Foreshadowing - previews of Kurtz: record quotes describing Kurtz and
his deeds from chapters one and two - present a diagram comparing the
reported Kurtz and the one we meet in chapter three.
- 3 level guide - Kurtz's last words.
Here's how to do it.
See also Three Level Reading Guides
from ESOL Online.
- River map - chart Marlow's journey, illustrating key episodes,
characters and images.
- Analyze sample essay - annotate and analyze the success or failure of an essay about Heart of Darkness.
- Complete the close reading template for Heart of Darkness.
- Jigsaw teaching - stages of Marlow's journey (setting):
- Company offices
- 1st station (to p 38)
- 2nd station (to p 59)
- the river/Russian's hut (to p 66)
- the river (to p 90)
- Kurtz' inner station
- The landscape as character - chart quotes from task three, linking them
with aspects of symbolism and theme.
- Write an essay discussing the importance of setting in Heart of Darkness. Review the Response to Literary/Expository Text Scoring Guide.
- How does Heart of Darkness fit the theme of
"Civilization versus Savagery"?
(See the follow up, below).
- The parallels between Apocalypse Now (the Academy
Award winning movie directed by Francis Ford Coppola) and Heart of Darkness
are powerful. If time permits and you are able to show an R-rated film
(permission slips may be required), here are some activities to help students
delve into both film and novel.
- Investigate the parallels with Arthurian legend (particularly the quest
Grail). This could be a quick background exercise, or a more
detailed background research exercise
through exploring Arthurian
- Read The
Hollow Men and The Love Song of J. Alfred
Prufrock by T.S. Eliot.
ASSESSMENTCAHSEE (California High School Exit Exam) Response to Literature/Expository Text Scoring Guide will be used to assess the essay in #10.
- Conrad, Joseph. (1995) Heart of Darkness with Congo Diary. (ed. notes: Robert Hampson) Penguin Books.
- Coppolla, Francis. Apocalypse Now (film)
- Coppolla, Eleanor. Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker's Apocalypse (film)
- Eliot, T.S. The Hollow Men and The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock
- Heart of Darkness 'SparkNotes'
- ClassicNotes on Heart of Darkness
- Online Resources on Joseph Conrad
- Heart of Darkness WebQuest
- Heart of the Apocalypse: a WebQuest on Corruption in Literature
- Notes on style, structure and characters in Heart of Darkness
This module could be part of a full year program.
As such, students are required to use the course texts as a launching point for their own investigation of the theme 'Civilization versus Savagery'. Other texts in the course include Equus by Peter Shaffer, Othello by William Shakespeare, various poems and short stories by Allen Ginsberg and T.S. Eliot and a thematic study of advertising that investigates the images of civilization that are presented by the image-makers.
The one major spin-off from designing this program along thematic lines can be the increased ability and willingness of the students to think critically beyond the boundaries of the text at hand. Debates have been wide-ranging and thrilling, with each student contributing ideas from his own cultural perspective, challenging each other's concepts of civilization. If you don't like the content, fine - try the structure.