Heart of Darkness*

     Since its publication in 1899, Heart of Darkness has been one of the most widely read books written in English. It has also been one of the most analyzed: scores of literary critics, ranging from feminists to Marxists to New Critics, have all tried to construct their own meanings from the pages of the book.

     The novel invites a wide variety of interpretations. Its narrator even claims the meaning of the story “was not inside like a kernel but outside, enveloping the tale which brought it out only as a glow brings out a haze, in the likeness of one of these misty halos that sometimes are made visible by the spectral illumination of moonshine” (68).

     After reading Heart of Darkness, you may feel that the meaning of the story is unclear. How do you go about making sense of a story as challenging as Heart of Darkness?

     This WebQuest may be of some help. You will learn how a particular critical lens affects interpretation of Heart of Darkness and develop your own critical insight into the book. On your journey toward meaning, you will follow Marlow up the Congo River, shedding light into this heart of darkness as you proceed, viewing the novel through your chosen lens, learning from the perspectives studied by others, and finally arriving at a more informed understanding of this novel.

Original WebQuest designed by Robert Rozemamailto:rozemar@gvsu.edu?subject=email%20subjectmailto:rozemar@gvsu.edu?subject=email%20subjectshapeimage_5_link_0shapeimage_5_link_1

Artwork from the graphic novel by Catherine Anyango.


All quotes from the Signet Classic 1997.

"And this also...has been one of the dark places of the earth”(67).