57 pages 1 hour read

Joseph Conrad

An Outpost Of Progress

Fiction | Short Story | Adult | Published in 1897

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Essay Questions

Use these essay questions as writing and critical thinking exercises for all levels of writers, and to build their literary analysis skills by requiring textual references throughout the essay.

Differentiation Suggestion: For English learners or struggling writers, strategies that work well include graphic organizers, sentence frames or starters, group work, or oral responses.

Scaffolded Essay Questions

Student Prompt: Write a short (1-3 paragraph) response using one of the below bulleted outlines. Cite details from the text over the course of your response that serve as examples and support.

1. The author creates symbolism in the Cross in a variety of ways.

  • What is the symbolism of the Cross?  (topic sentence)
  • Identify and discuss at least 2 passages in the story that feature the Cross.
  • In your concluding sentence or sentences, explain the symbolism of the cross and its role in the story’s development of one of the following themes: The Hypocrisy of Western Colonialism, The Moral Degeneracy of Human Nature, or Existential Loneliness.

2. Kayerts and Carlier pose as progressive men from a “civilized” Belgium—a pose that is revealed to be a façade after Makola trades for the ivory.

  • How does Conrad use irony to reveal Kayerts and Carlier’s hypocrisy? (topic sentence)
  • Identify at least 2 passages that juxtapose, or contrast, Kayerts and Carlier’s supposed beliefs and their actions.