After reading Achebe’s obituary, I explain to students that before Achebe wrote his novel, Polish author Joseph Conrad wrote Heart of Darkness, a short novel or novella about a white man named Marlow who captains a steamboat down the Congo river.
Read excerpt from Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad (from top to page 84).
Explain how Achebe, a Nigerian writer, felt Conrad’s work was racist, which led him to write Things Fall Apart. For this reason, we group-read this excerpt from Heart of Darkness.
Take turns reading out loud.
Pay attention and underline any evidence that supports or does not support Achebe’s claims about Conrad’s racism.
Do you think Achebe was justified or unjustified in his assertions about Conrad? Use evidence to support your claims.
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