57 pages 1 hour read

Joseph Conrad

An Outpost Of Progress

Fiction | Short Story | Adult | Published in 1897

A modern alternative to SparkNotes and CliffsNotes, SuperSummary offers high-quality Study Guides with detailed chapter summaries and analysis of major themes, characters, and more. For select classroom titles, we also provide Teaching Guides with discussion and quiz questions to prompt student engagement.

Reading Context

Use these questions or activities to help gauge students’ familiarity with and spark their interest in the context of the work, giving them an entry point into the text itself.

Short Answer

1. What do you know about colonialism in Africa? If you’re not familiar with colonialism in Africa, how about another part of the world? What attitudes and beliefs do you believe enabled colonialism?

Teaching Suggestion: Joseph Conrad’s writings, many of which are based on his own experiences, explore the colonization of Africa and the attitudes of the colonizers. Students may not be familiar with the colonization of the Congo by Belgium, but they likely have learned about colonialism in the United States or elsewhere. Activating this background knowledge may help students better understand “An Outpost of Progress.”

  • This short article from National Geographic provides a brief description of Belgium’s colonization of the Congo.
  • This article from Foreign Policy examines the attitudes underlying colonialism and how Belgium is reckoning with its history as a colonizer.

2. What role do you think society has in shaping human behaviors? How do you think humans would act if removed from society?

Teaching Suggestion: This question can help to prepare students for the theme of The Moral Degeneracy of Human Nature by having them think about human nature and society’s impact on humans.