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Comparison of Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad and Things Fall Apart By Chinua Achebe

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Significantly literary criticism find similarities in between two books, merely due to the fact they have equivalent settings or address superficially comparable troubles. Such is the case with Conrad’s Heart of Darkness and Achebe’s Issues Fall Apart. Despite the fact that these two books do have much in typical, and concentrate on similar subjects, they nevertheless have fundamentally distinct purposes. Things Fall Apart tries to show that African culture was beneficial, not primitive, even though Heart of Darkness, strives to ridicule European activity in africa, not simply because it was negative for the Africans, but since in numerous ways it was negative for the Europeans. These differences can be found by examining the different themes that the two books propose, and also are especially clear after a discussion of the two books’ therapy of race. I will address the two books separately before comparing them side-by-side.

Things Fall Apart tries to show that African culture, despite its weaknesses, was worthwhile. The strongest evidence of this is mere numbers – more than three quarters of the book is committed to character development, plot, and description of village life, ahead of the white men even enter the story. When the narrator refers to the Europeans as “strange males,” it is clear that he does so from the point of view of an African. But the rub is in the narrator’s therapy of the Africans. The complete book is filled with s such as “among these people, a man is judged according to his worth and not according to the worth of his father,” which serve to inform about the Umuofia individuals. Undoubtedly the village is not a secure spot to live, as is shown by Ezeudu’s son’s death. Nevertheless, Okwonkwo’s resulting exile permits Achebe to describe an additional African village, as well as the principle of “Mother is supreme.” In this way is Okwonkwo’s exile consistent with the goal of the book – to show that Umuofian, and, by extension, African, culture was worthwhile. Another, comparable, facet is the fashion in which justice is dispatched in the village. The textitegwugwu do much more than just dispatch justice they serve as the spiritual guides for the village. It is attainable that some of the villagers recognize that though the worldly manifestations of the textitegwugwu are individuals, their godly representations is required to spiritual and civil maintainance of the village. This is expressed by Achebe himself when he writes commence Okwonkwo’s wives, and perhaps other ladies as nicely, might have noticed the second textitegwugwu had the springy walk of Okwonkwo. And they might have noticed that Okwonkwo was not among the titled guys and elders who sat behind the row of textitegwugwu. But if they believed these factors they kept them within themselves. – p. 89-90footnoteAll Factors Fall Apart page references are in the Anchor Books Edition, published by Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group, Inc., 1540 Broadway, New York, New York 10036. ISBN #-385-47454-7. The total quantity of pages is 209, and the text begins on page three. end This except offers us great insight into the Umuofian culture. Regardless of what it is, the mere reality that it offers us this insight is essential, since it shows the accurate goal of the book. The textitegwugwu give us wonderful insight into the richness of Umuofian culture, simply because that is the objective of the book.

Regardless of all the fantastic descriptions of Umuofian culture, Achebe describes its weaknesses as effectively. Of note is the way Nwoye feels that his spiritual demands are not getting met, and so joins the Christians. Achebe writes start There was a young lad who had been captivated. His name was Nwoye … It was not the mad logic of the Trinity that captivated him. He did not recognize it. It was the poetry of the new religion, anything felt in the marrow. The hymn about brothers who sat in darkness and in fear seemed to answer a vague and persistent question that haunted his young soul. – p. 147 finish This also reveals much about Umuofia.

In specific, it consists of the excellent with the undesirable it shows that despite becoming a wealthy and varied spiritual culture, Umuofia also has its deficiencies. Achebe recognizes this, and tells about it alongside descriptions of what is wonderful. More examples can be discovered in the many cases of spousal and kid abuse, and in the way that twins are discarded. Even though it is not the aim of this book to give a historically correct account of the culture, these descriptions of the negative along with the good strengthen the accurate objective, due to the fact Umuofia’s weaknesses make the powerful points look even stronger. purpose of Heart of Darkness. On the contrary, Heart of Darkness condemns colonialism, not because of the impact it had on Africa, but due to the fact of its effect on Europe and Europeans. This is an essential contrast, due to the fact it is essential to so a lot of other analyses that a single may do on Heart of Darkness. There are numerous, varied ways that Conrad comes down upon colonialism. Most prominent is the effect that the thirst for ivory has on the europeans. This is a common topic in the book, beginning from the company’s medical professional measuring Conrad’s head, “He created a factor like calipers and got the dimensions back and front and each other way, taking notes very carefully.”

Later in the discussion, the medical doctor comments that “The changes take location inside, you know.” The physician clearly knows how the Congo modifications a man. Marlow sees this himself, in his description of the individuals at the inner station: begin The word ‘ivory’ rang in the air, was whispered, was sighed. You would consider they were praying to it. A taint of imbecile rapacity blew by way of it all, like a whiff from some corpse. By Jove! I’ve in no way noticed something so unreal in my life. And outside, the silent wilderness surrounding this cleared speck on the earth struck me as one thing excellent and invincible, like evil or truth, waiting patiently for the passing away of this wonderful invasion. – p. 20 end Marlow’s therapy of the people at the inner station is startling. His narration shows that they have lost one thing – they are actually less fulfilled than when they arrived. This relates to Marlow’s repeated use of the image of hollowness with respect to individuals. There are numerous hollow individuals in the book The theme here is that when the pressures and checks of living in “civilized” society are no longer present, we need to make use of “our inborn strength.

Principles will not do.” This “inborn strength” is restraint – The restraint that the natives on the steamboat possessed, that Kurtz and the pilgrims lacked. There are numerous other characters that also meet the “hollow” description too several to enumerate. When the constraints of society are removed, 1 should rely on internal restraint to keep one’s ethics. With out this restraint, varying amounts of disaster ensue, with Kurtz as one particular intense example. Does this sound excellent for Europe? No. This theme clearly shows that exploring the jungle was undesirable for Europe. A single can also discount many other potential purposes for the book, since of the several racial attitudes Marlow takes.

Though it can be argued that Marlow is not Conrad in every way, this is nonetheless worth investigating. It is not that Marlow makes racist remarks, but conrad depicts Marlow as not caring about black folks, or treating them as “savages”. The very first clear example of this is the prisoners. When Marlow states that the prisoners “passed [him] with that comprehensive, death-like indifference of unhappy savages,” it is in reality Marlow getting indifferent and savage. This is ironic, but does not discount the severity of the situation – again and once again Marlow discounts the “black fellows” as savages who are not worth worrying about. He doesn’t really take any action against them, he merely avoids assisting them. This appears to not make sense, specially considering that he calls some of the “black fellows” “a fantastic comfort to look at.” But when 1 considers that the Africans are irrelevant to the goal of the book, this becomes completely clear.

One more way that Conrad condemns colonialism is with his treatment of Europe’s past. On many occasions, Marlow refers to europe as obtaining been a “dark spot.”, most notably when he say “And this also … has been one particular of the dark locations of the earth.” (p. three) To bring up the roman conquest of England appears rather cryptic, but the cause can be found when 1 considers what happened to the conquerors – England is a far far more strong country than the remnants of the Roman Empire. The very same truth holds for the US, which is presently far far more strong than England. This is one more unfavorable impact of colonialism that Marlow points out – that the conquerors don’t stay conquerors forever. Hence, the purposes of the two books have been enumerated. Nonetheless, it is required to go over the two books side-by-side.

One particular forum in which to do this is racial imagery. Heart of Darkness uses lightness and darkness, but lightness truly refers to blacks and darkness refers to whites. Achebe, on the other hand, utilizes race only as a physical descriptor, as 1 may describe an individual’s height. Each authors use race in a way that is consistent with their goal. In Heart of Darkness, the europeans are the ones tainted by “darkness.” Is it any wonder then that they get the “dark” imagery? Conrad is attempting to say that Africa is negative for Europeans. The blacks, who reside in Africa, are related with light, because for them, the jungle is the only way. Things fall apart requires an entirely different attitude Achebe hardly utilizes race at all.

Achebe describes generalizations made on both sides, such as when Mr. Smith is described as seeing things “as black and white. And black [is] negative.” (p. 184) Still, these are merely the racial feelings of distinct characters. They do not carry more than to the book as a entire. The purpose that Achebe does not address race considerably in Items Fall Apart is that the book’s objective – to show that African culture was beneficial – is irrelevant to race. Conversely, the purpose that Conrad makes use of racial imagery so considerably in Heart of Darkness is that the book’s objective relates to colonialism, which is in turn straight tied to race. Race is crucial, but equally important is the ending. The endings of the two novels possibly bear the most in common than something else. This commonality is superficial at best, even so. They also both finish with ignorant people carrying on the same as just before – the Intended in Heart of Darkness, and the District Commissioner in Factors Fall Apart.

One contrast, nevertheless, is that no one particular tries to tell the Intended what occurred, except Marlow, and he decides not to due to the fact “it would be as well dark, as well dark altogether,” (p. 72) although the District Commissioner is blind to all that he sees. Each endings are ironic, in a way, as properly. Definitely the Commissioner’s closing about how he may be in a position to create a whole paragraph on Okwonkwo is ironic, since we have just knowledgeable 200 pages of character development. To minimize Okwonkwo to a paragraph is as ironic as the Intended’s eagerness to accept Marlow’s falsehood.

Nevertheless, these ironies point out variations in the books’ purposes. In the end, the district commissioner represents these who do not believe African culture is worthwhile, possibly out of possessing not study the book. The intended’s irony represents a final falsehood provided to the Europeans, because they can’t manage the truth. The implication is that the truth, and, by extension, the actual events, would be bad for Europe. So the books’ purposes are distinct. The two books’ endings are different. Their therapy of race is diverse. This is obvious. Fundamentally, the two books are different. What is not clear is that they serve fundamentally distinct purposes. It is my hope that this essay has helped to make this notion clear – that the two books, while they address similar subjects, are, in reality, dissimilar.
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