57 pages 1 hour read

Joseph Conrad

An Outpost Of Progress

Fiction | Short Story | Adult | Published in 1897

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“An Outpost of Progress”

  • Genre: Fiction
  • Originally Published: 1897
  • Reading Level/Interest: College/Adult
  • Structure/Length: Approx. 18 pages; approx. 1 hour on audio
  • Protagonist and Central Conflict: Two European men, Carlier and Kayerts, are working at a trading station in a remote part of the African jungle and become uneasy as they question the morality of their assignment.
  • Potential Sensitivity Issues: Colonialism; slavery; racism; racist, ableist, and dated, offensive language; use of the n-word; suicide

Joseph Conrad, Author

  • Bio: A Polish-British writer; born in 1857 in Ukraine; died in 1924; worked for the British Merchant Marines for 16 years, sailing around the world; his novella, Heart of Darkness, inspired the 1979 film Apocalypse Now
  • Other Works: Heart of Darkness (1899); Lord Jim (1900); The Secret Agent (1907)

CENTRAL THEMES connected and noted throughout this Teaching Unit:

  • The Hypocrisy of Western Colonialism
  • The Moral Degeneracy of Human Nature
  • Existential Loneliness

STUDY OBJECTIVES: In accomplishing the components of this Unit, students will:

  • Gain an understanding of the historical and cultural contexts regarding the European colonialization of Africa that drive Conrad’s concerns.
  • Analyze short paired texts and videos to make connections and consider alternative viewpoints on The Hypocrisy of Western Colonialism.
  • Plan and write a short narrative that features the use of setting as a symbol in order to demonstrate understanding of the impact of the setting in “An Outpost of Progress.