Introduction

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 does seem to invite 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."

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

This WebQuest may be of some help. It will help you learn just how some critics have come up with their interpretations of Heart of Darkness and encourage you to develop your own critical stance on the book. On your journey toward meaning, you will follow Marlow up the Congo River, shedding light on the heart of darkness as you proceed, finally arriving at a better understanding of this evasive book.

Contact Robert Rozema, the designer of this WebQuest.