Heart of Darkness and The Secret Sharer, Joseph Conrad
The dark recesses of what was once the Belgian Congo provide an appropriate background for Heart of Darkness, a tale of the psychological and physical diminishment of Kurtz, the once-charismatic chief of a trading company's Congo station. The journey to the Congo that opens this story provides the introduction to both Kurtz and the setting in which he has lived.
In The Secret Sharer, two men meet in the middle of the nightone the captain of a ship, the other a fugitive who appears out of the black night and the open sea. Their shared stories of ambition, uncertainty, murder, and loyalty, develop through Conrad's use of symbol and careful detail.
"The Hollow Men"poem by T. S. Eliot
"The Negro Speaks of Rivers"poem by Langston Hughes
"Vessel of Last Resort"magazine article by Jeffrey Tayler
"Miriam"short story by Truman Capote
"The Street"poem by Octavio Paz
Study Guide (PDF)