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Heart of Darkness/Things Fall Apart


Heart of Darkness/Things Fall Apart

Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness” and Achebe’s “Things Fall Apart” share many similarities and distinctions. One resemblance is the manner in which Europeans deal with the Africans as inhuman. Another similarity is how in despair the Africans resort to death to handle what Western culture has actually given them. A distinction in the books is that in “Heart of Darkness” the Europeans were currently settled into Africa while in “Things Fall Apart” the Europeans do not settle till later on. Another distinction is that women aren’t spoken about as having much of a role in “Heart of Darkness” as compared to “Things Fall Apart”.

Both books share the concept that Europeans deal with Africans as inhuman and inferior. In “Heart of Darkness,” it is mentioned, “They would have been a lot more impressive, those heads on the stakes, if their faces had actually not been turned to your house” (Conrad 57). The Europeans had the heads of the Africans on poles, demonstrating how they treated Africans as their own little play toys. The Africans didn’t get a burial however rather are flaunted as inhuman and detached from the rest of their body. Also in “Heart of Darkness,” Kurtz’s handout checks out, “Suppression of Savage Customs” (Conrad 71).

They are referring to the African customizeds or perfects as being primitive and inhuman. Kurtz’s handout here is exposing how the Europeans require to get rid of African customs and bring in their perfects. The Africans are barbaric and need to be taught a brand-new way of life. Similarly, in “Things Fall Apart,” the District Commissioner exposes that he is going to compose a book. The title of it says, “The Pacification of the Primitive Tribes of the Lower Niger” (Achebe p. 148). Here the Commissioner is going to compose a book on how the Europeans submissed and removed the primitive tribes of Africa.

This demonstrates how unremorseful Europeans are. They didn’t care for or try and comprehend the African customs. They saw through their frame of minds of western culture that the Africans are these inferior, primitive individuals who have to follow the western methods because the Europeans are much better and more superior. Similarly in both books, the Africans in anguish result to death to deal with Western culture taking control of their way of life and culture. In Conrad’s book it says, “The work! And this was the place where some of the helpers had withdrawn to die” (p. 20).

This quote is showing that the Africans who out of anguish and unhappiness over how they were being dealt with and abused by the Europeans resorted to crawling up and dying by a tree. It reveals that they would rather go off and die instead of stay servants to the Europeans. The Africans have actually realized that their custom-mades are well gone and this is their future. This leaves them with a sense of insignificance. In Achebe’s book the very same concept is shown in the line, “They concerned the tree from which Okonkwo’s body was dangling, and they stopped dead” (p. 147).

Okonkwo remained in despair just like the Africans in “Heart of Darkness”. He recognized that all the custom-mades that he had actually grown to cherish and follow were being damaged by the Europeans. They were can be found in and teaching them their methods and Okonkwo could not deal with the thought of whatever he had worked so difficult to achieve to be gone. All that he was as an individual was through the customs and customizeds that he had actually known. Perhaps now that the Europeans came and destroyed his lifestyle, he had absolutely nothing left. His social status didn’t matter anymore in the community.

He remained in despair and his only options were death or follow the western way. The 2 books can be contrasted because the whole “Heart of Darkness” book was written with the Western Civilization already settled into Africa. On the other hand, “Things Fall Apart,” most of the book is handled the life of the Africans and their customizeds. It is not till late in the book that the Europeans lastly settle their customs and concepts into Africa. The conclusion that can be made by this difference is that the audience in Achebe’s book can see how the Africans way of living was prior to the Westerners came in.

In Conrad’s book, the audience did not get a feel for the Africans feelings. In “Things Break Down,” it says “Ikemefuna came to Umuofia at the end of the carefree season in between harvest and planting” (p. 21). The importance of this line has not to do with Ikemefuna however the idea of harvest and planting. The Africans in this book are revealed as human beings connecting to be civilized and follow a structure of organization in flourishing their land. They plant and make a lifestyle. So when the Europeans come and bring in their thoughts and ideas, the audience has an understanding view and understanding of why the

Africans are less apt at truly welcoming the Europeans. In “Heart of Darkness” though, the audience do not get a feel of compassion as much for the Africans due to the fact that the book does not enter the Africans culture prior to the European intrusion. Instead the book is written with mostly a European view. It’s composed in the viewpoint of a European traveling to Africa so much predisposition is currently placed on the Africans. The audience does not get to see the human side of the Africans. Rather they get perspectives like, “A nigger was beaten nearby” (Conrad p. 23).

The audience doesn’t get a sense of who the Africans are. They get this forecasted idea that the Africans are uncivilized and savage. Once might argue that “Things Fall Apart” is for the Africans side, and “Heart of Darkness” is for the Europeans, due to the way both were written. Another distinction in both books is that women play more of a function in “Things Break Down” than in “Heart of Darkness”. In Conrad’s book the only reference of a women is Kurtz’s girlfriend. It states, “She was savage and outstanding” (p. 8). The audience gets no genuine depiction of the ladies here.

From the line they only understand of what Western culture views them as, which is savage and barbaric. There is no real understanding of them besides that. The audience can not get on a personal level of what the women’s function was. It was as if they played no important function in society. They weren’t of any importance. On the other hand, in “Things Fall Apart,” the audience gets a genuine feel on what ladies carried out in the African culture. The females told stories like, “That is why Tortoise’s shell is not smooth” (p. 85).

Through stories the females are spreading their positive light on the kids and house life. On page 116, it specifies, “Nwoye’s mom and Ojugo would supply the other things like smoked fish, palm-oil and pepper for the soup. This shows that the females were the primary food prepares not just for the family but for the special events like feasts for the people. Another important quote says, “A male belongs to his fatherland when things are good and life is sweet. But when there is grief and bitterness he finds haven in his motherland” (Achebe 94-95).

This quote generally states that when things are fine in a tribe and everything is going the way it is suppose to they can be perceived as strong and manly. However when things go sour in their village they turn to their mom or motherland for comfort. The male are expect to be masculine and strong so they aren’t suppose to be all caring however the females are viewed as this reassuring soul. The ladies played a crucial function in “Things Fall Apart.” They supply numerous essential elements in the tribal life while it is never ever truly displayed in “Heart of Darkness. “Heart of Darkness” and “Things Fall Apart” have lots of similarities and distinctions. The examples shown are simply a few of the numerous that are exposed in both books. The 2 books can be argued to take various sides. It can be stated that “Heart of Darkness” is sided on the Western Cultural viewpoints, while “Things Break Down” is sided more with the Africans. 1. Achebe, Chinua. Things Break Down. Johannesburg: William Heinemann Ltd, 1958. 2. Conrad, Joseph. Heart of Darkness. New York: W. W. Norton & & Business Inc, 2006.

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