Heart of Darkness Lesson Plan

Instructor: Jason Lineberger

Jason has 20 years of education experience including 14 years of teaching college literature.

Heart of Darkness is one of the more challenging books your students will read in class. This lesson plan, which uses an active reading strategy, small group discussions, and a debate, will help them understand the book's plot and themes.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • Explain why Conrad's Heart of Darkness could be adapted into the film Apocalypse Now
  • Summarize the plot of Heart of Darkness
  • Define frame narrative


60 minutes

Curriculum Standards


Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze in detail its development over the course of the text, including how it emerges and is shaped and refined by specific details; provide an objective summary of the text.


Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grades 9-10 topics, texts, and issues, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.


Present information, findings, and supporting evidence clearly, concisely, and logically such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning and the organization, development, substance, and style are appropriate to purpose, audience, and task.



  • Frame narrative


NOTE: This lesson plan can be used either before or after reading the novel.

  • Before students enter the room, write the lesson objectives on the board as learning targets. For instance, ''I can summarize the Heart of Darkness.''
  • Also, write the following codes on the board:
    • ! = new information worth discussing
    • ? = confusing/needs clarification
    • Underline = information I already knew.
  • When class begins, distribute the copies of Conrad's Heart of Darkness: Plot, Characters, and Style
  • Explain that as students watch the video, they should mark on their copies of the transcript using the text codes listed on the board. They shouldn't code every sentence, but they will have 2-4 marks per paragraph.
  • Play the video Conrad's Heart of Darkness: Plot, Characters, and Style, pausing regularly to allow students to reflect and code their transcripts.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use Study.com

Become a Study.com member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about Study.com
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? Study.com has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account