Conrad's Heart of Darkness and Achebe's Things Fall Apart Essay

Conrad's Heart of Darkness and Achebe's Things Fall Apart Essay

Length: 1810 words (5.2 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Term Papers

Open Document

Essay Preview

Novels such as Conrad's Heart of Darkness and Achebe's Things Fall Apart both present the reader with different points of view on colonialism in Africa, challenging an active reader to base his or her own conclusions based on the texts. Conrad presents the European perspective on colonialism while Achebe offers the native African point of view; each author provides his readers radically different views on the same issue. Likewise, the novel White Teeth also presents different perspectives on racial issues. Learning how to be an active reader definitely provides insight to every aspect of life thus allowing the reader to formulate educated conclusions and decisions. The skills required being an active reader are also required of an active citizen in the real world. Whether in literature or the real world, one point of view is never fully reliable. Because points of view radically change depending upon racial background, upbringing, and cultural influences, readers of texts as well as members of society today must be active readers and thinkers in order to make conclusions for themselves.

The first perspective presented addresses the European view of Colonialism and native Africans. We first encounter Europe’s general view of Africans early in Conrad’s novel. Before beginning a trek to Africa, Marlow visits his aunt who tells her nephew that she hopes he will help aid in “weaning those ignorant millions of their horrid ways” (Conrad 786). Even though Marlow’s aunt has never even been to Africa to see the Native Africans first hand, she has a preconceived notion that Africans are ignorant savages. This notion is dominant among Europeans and is seemingly based solely on myths and stories told by others who have never even been to ...


... middle of paper ...


...texts challenge and compel an active to draw his or her own conclusion based on these texts and personally resolve how to deal with the issue of racism still present in the real world today. Learning how to be an active reader definitely provides insight to every aspect of life thus allowing the reader to formulate educated conclusions and decisions. Without these skills, most students would only search out one perspective and forego opposing knowledge. As a result, those readers would lack the ability to make educated judgments.

Works Cited


Achebe, Chinua. Things Fall Apart. Portsmouth: African Writers Series, 2000. Print.

Conrad, Joseph. “Heart of Darkness.” Heart of Darkness: Norton Critical Edition. Ed. Paul B.
Armstrong. Fourth ed. New York: W. W. Norton, 2006. Print.

Smith, Zadie. White Teeth. New York: Vintage International, 2000. Print.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Misogyny in Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad and Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

- Misogyny, the hatred or dislike of females, is a recurrent theme in World Literature. Women’s suffrage was at its prime between 1840 and 1920. Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad and Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe, two stories based in Africa, show different points of misogyny, the first being from the time of women’s suffrage, and the latter being after the women’s suffrage movement. The value, view, and role of women was undermined greatly in these two novels. Heart of Darkness was published in 1902, deep in with time of the women’s suffrage movement....   [tags: literature, females, women's suffrage]

Term Papers
1137 words (3.2 pages)

Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad vs. Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

- Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad and Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe are two novellas written to make a statement about the struggles of early societies. Both stories stir up moments of hope, anger, disappointment, despair, and enlightenment in an attempt to inform the reader of the injustices and societal differences during the 1800’s. Heart of Darkness tells the story from a European Colonist perspective while Things Fall Apart illustrates the outlook of the African tribe member being colonized....   [tags: comparison, early societies, injusticies]

Term Papers
1460 words (4.2 pages)

Symbolism in Conrad's Heart of Darkness and Achebe's Things Fall Apart Essay

- An iconography is a symbolic representation that carries hidden meaning of a term, image, and item. Both Conrad’s Heart of Darkness and Achebe’s Things Fall Apart fully describe many symbolisms of specific items and all of them are attached to different kinds of meaning behind. Although Heart of Darkness is a famous literature that was criticized by Chinua Achebe and each of their work represents different point of views during similar time of history, both literatures have a similarity that they operate iconography in relation to race, class and identity with their own interpretations of symbols and icons....   [tags: racism, missionary, native]

Term Papers
518 words (1.5 pages)

Essay on Conflict in Conrad's Heart of Darkness and Achebe's Things Fall Apart

- The novel Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe and the novel Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad are very different from one another. While they each tell a very different story, we know that both take place in Africa and that they do have similarities. One of the similarities that each novel has is the main character struggling in both. Marlow is morally fighting a conflict. On the other hand, Okonkwo is physically trying to fight conflict. Both result in the main character losing his battle with the conflict at the end of each novel....   [tags: compare contrast]

Term Papers
966 words (2.8 pages)

Suppresion of Women's Rights: Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness, and Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart

- Women’s rights are consistently suppressed in Joseph Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness” while in Chinua Achebe’s “Things Fall Apart”, the powerful Mother of the Spirits is revered and her daughters beaten and persecuted because of their gender. These authors were vividly depicting the reality of the repression of women during this time period. They exploit the vulnerabilities of women by criticizing all of their stereotypical feminine qualities. To be called a “woman” is among the utmost offensive insults spewed upon the feeble and meek....   [tags: social issues, women's rights]

Term Papers
984 words (2.8 pages)

Opposing Viewpoints of Africa in Two Short Stories: Conrad’s Heart of Darkness and Achebe’s Things Fall Apart

- In every situation, varying perspectives and opinions will be present, as proven in Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness and Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart. These literary works reveal opposing viewpoints of Africa through the use of literary and stylistic devices. The natural, primitive society is portrayed using sensory detail, imagery, and diction, which in turn reveal the authors’ different attitudes. Through his use of arrogant diction and vivid imagery, Conrad establishes a superior tone, while Achebe incorporates words with peaceful connotations into his sensory detail to create a serene tone....   [tags: African Culture, Literary Comparison]

Term Papers
621 words (1.8 pages)

Colonization and Wealth in Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness and Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart

- Colonization and Views on Wealth in Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness and Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart The novels Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad and Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe share a common theme; both deal with the colonization of Africa by settlers from Europe. When one examines the motives for this imperialist attitude in each book, one notices that in both books the motivation for colonization revolves around the gaining of wealth. However Conrad and Achebe define wealth differently....   [tags: Comparison Compare Contrast Essays]

Term Papers
1614 words (4.6 pages)

Essay on Analysis Of Conrad 's Heart Of Darkness, By Chinua Achebe

- In "An Image of Africa: Racism in Conrad 's Heart of Darkness," Chinua Achebe criticizes Joseph Conrad for his racist stereotypes towards the continent and people of Africa. He claims that Conrad propagated the "dominant image of Africa in the Western imagination" rather than portraying the continent in its true form (1793). Africans were portrayed in Conrad 's novel as savages with no language other than grunts and with no "other occupations besides merging into the evil forest or materializing out of it simply to plague Marlow" (1792-3)....   [tags: Chinua Achebe, Things Fall Apart, Igbo people]

Term Papers
1708 words (4.9 pages)

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

- 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....   [tags: races, culture, Chinua Achebe, Joseph Conrad]

Term Papers
1032 words (2.9 pages)

Tragedy in Colonial Africa by Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness and Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart

- Darkness. It pervades every corner of this world, casting literal and metaphorical shadow over everything. Creeping in the hearts of humans, drifting across the night sky, under the bed, darkness is a terrifying, yet quintessential concept in our human mentality. And, as such, it presents itself in cultures and stories around the world to explain the unknown and the terrifying. Through the presentation of the struggle with internal and external “darkness,” both Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness and Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart draw upon contrasting viewpoints and cultures, as well as an ironic play of “darkness” between the Europeans and the Africans, to construe the tragedy unfolding i...   [tags: darkness, congo, culture]

Term Papers
1152 words (3.3 pages)