by Joseph Conrad
As in many Joseph Conrad novels, exterior plot events parallel an emotional and psychological movement within the main character. In Heart of Darkness, as Marlow's boat slowly takes him deep into the heart of darkest Africa, he begins to examine his values and those of his imperialistic society. The end of his journey, his meeting with the mysterious Mr. Kurtz, finds him staring into the horrific face of human savagery. This is a powerful book, short enough to be done, and done well, in a high school classroom.