Essay on Comparing and Contrasting Things Fall Apart and Heart of Darkness

Essay on Comparing and Contrasting Things Fall Apart and Heart of Darkness

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Acclaimed Nigerian author, Chinua Achebe’s 1958 novel, Things Fall Apart, is a story about Okonkwo, a man from the fictional village of Umuofia. Okonkwo’s attempt to form an idealized self-identity and the stress he experiences in living up to its image wears his life, and eventually destroys the very identity he so desperately sought. Okonkwo’s end is analogous to the end of his tribe and its culture—Achebe refers to the Igbo peoples’ culture as the Ibo culture in his book. Furthermore, Okonkwo’s end shows the pain experienced by the change in power balances as the rulers became the ruled, with the white man colonizing Africa. The Heart of Darkness hardly needs an introduction; Joseph Conrad, its writer, wrote the novella based on his experiences as a captain on the Congo. The protagonist is Charles Marlow, whose impression of the colonized Congo basins along with its tribal inhabitants and the raiding white men amidst the deep, dark, disease-infested forests of Congo form the basis of the story. Things Fall Apart and Heart of Darkness are both based around situations that instigate the awe-inspiring, and yet horrifying confluence of races and cultures. However, while the former tells the story from the colonized peoples’ perspective, the latter tells it from the colonizers’ perspective. This paper attempts to highlight the differences and similarities in these novels by exploring the underlying themes and unusual circumstances portrayed in them.
The novels Things Fall Apart and Heart of Darkness are illustrations of the baser aspects of human nature, both in their content and the manner in which they deal with the subject of subjugation, violence, and suffering during historical interracial confluences. This fact is illus...

... middle of paper ...

... Heart of Darkness presents the fear of the white man and his difficulty in viewing the Africans as people from his own race. Things Fall Apart, on the other hand, criticizes this impressionistic stance. Clearly, the different origins and backgrounds of the authors has influenced the different perspectives in the books.

Works Cited

Works Cited

Achebe, Chinua. Things Fall Apart, 2013. Google Books. Web. 11 Nov. 2013.
Conrad, Joseph. Heart of Darkness, 1975. Plain Label Books. Web. 11 Nov. 2013.
Austenfeld, Anne Marie. “The Revelatory Narrative Circle in Barbara Kingsolver’s the Poisonwood Bible.” Journal of Narrative Theory: JNT 36.2 (2006): 293–306. ProQuest. Web. 11 Nov. 2013.
Korang, Kwaku Larbi. “Making a Post-Eurocentric Humanity: Tragedy, Realism, and Things Fall Apart.” Research in African Literatures 42.2 (2011): 1–29. ProQuest. Web. 11 Nov. 2013.

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