In Cry, the beloved country, Alan Paton tells the story of his journey across Africa, his experiences with the colonized Africa, and the destruction of the beautiful, pre-colonialism native land of Africa. Heart of Darkness also tells the story of a man and his experiences with colonialism, but a man who comes from a different time period and a very different background than Alan Paton’s Stephen Kumalo. Although, both Joseph Conrad and Alan Paton portray the colonized areas as very negative, death filled, and sinful places, it is when one analyzes the descriptions of the native lands of Africa that the authors reasons for their disapproval of colonialism are truly revealed. When comparing the writing styles of Alan Paton and Joseph Conrad, their descriptions of the land and the people in both works reveal their different attitudes and views towards colonialism. While Paton and Conrad ultimately oppose colonialism, Paton is concerned with the disappearance of African tribal tradition, whereas Conrad is concerned with the perceived corruption of the white colonists. There are many contributors to the different attitudes and viewpoints projected by Paton and Conrad including the time period they were born in and their different backgrounds. Alan Paton and Joseph Conrad come from different time periods, which meant very different periods of colonialism. Joseph Conrad began writing Heart of Darkness in in 1890, during the beginning stages of colonialism, after he began his own journey through the heart of Africa. Alan Paton, on the other hand, began writing his novel in 1947 when he began to see the effects of colonialism affecting his own home. The difference in time between the books may have had an affect on the outlook of the... ... middle of paper ... ...ca there are no major differences between black and white, there is only the divine and magnificent land. After exploring the backgrounds of Joseph Conrad and Alan Paton, we realize the differences in their upbringings and how that may have had an effect on their outlooks of Africa. These authors grew up in completely different settings in completely different time periods; Joseph Conrad in a predominantly white area amongst those who would be the colonists of Africa in the future, and Alan Paton in the Africa itself amongst those who the colonization affected most greatly. These factors contribute to the different viewpoints that are apparent in their respective works. From analyzing the content of their writings, it is apparent that, although, both authors have the same overall opinion of colonialism, these opinions are due to two very different reasons.
...ric, and blatantly naïve accounts by Joseph Conrad in his Heart of Darkness, Achebe brings to light the level of sophistication and complexity of pre-colonial societies. Rich with institutions of governance and traditions of belief, Achebe counters Conrad in the claim that Africa was a primitive and empty land that simply was the antithesis to Western society. Through the character of the District Commissioner, Achebe makes this ignorance of Igbo society - and pre-colonial civilizations in general – abundantly clear. After written an entire novel on the intricate life of Okonkwo up until his symbolic suicide, the District Commissioner – just as Joseph Conrad – encounters the protagonist and synthesizes his life – albeit his death - to a couple paragraphs. Only in the perspective of those with in pre-colonial Africa do we truly see how things really just fell apart.
...ion of imperialism has evolved. In both Heart of Darkness by Conrad, and The Poisonwood Bible by Kingsolver, Africa is invaded and altered to conform to the desires of more “civilized” people. While this oppression in the Congo never seems to cease, the natives are consistently able to overcome the obstacles, and the tyrants, and thus prove to be civilized in their own regard and as capable of development as the white nations. As Orleanna says herself: “Call it oppression, complicity, stupefaction, call it what you’d like…Africa swallowed the conqueror’s music and sang a new song of her own” (Kingsolver 385). Kingsolver illustrates that though individuals may always seek to control and alter the region, the inhabitants and victims of the tyranny and oppression live on and continue past it, making the state of the area almost as perpetual as the desire to control it.
The Heart of Darkness, a complex text was written by Joseph Conrad around the 19th century, when Europeans were colonizing Africa for wealth and power and were attempting to spread their culture and religion in Africa. It was also a period in which women were not allowed to participate in worldly affairs. Therefore, the text deals with issues such as racism, European imperialism, and misogyny. This essay will look at the different themes in the novel and argue whether or not The Heart of Darkness is a work of art.
...nters many of the degrading stereotypes that colonial literature has placed on Africa. In his lecture, "An Image of Africa: Racism in Conrad's Heart of Darkness," Achebe documents the ways that Conrad dehumanizes Africans by reducing their religious practices to superstition, saying that they should remain in their place, taking away their ability of speech, and depreciating their complex geography to just a single mass of jungle. Achebe carefully crafts Things Fall Apart to counter these stereotypes and show that Africa is in fact a rich land full of intelligent people who are, in fact, very human.
Using these ironic terms shows that Conrad wanted to exploit the Native people of Africa and the European people working in Africa through a postcolonial analysis. Whether or not this story has some truth to it as to when Conrad did travel to the Congo is not known. But there is not escaping the premeditated attempts by Conrad to illustrate these two separate cultures as ones whose qualities intersected and overlapped.
Chinua Achebe, a well known writer, once gave a lecture at the University of Massachusetts about Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness, entitled "An image of Africa: Racism in Conrad's Heart of Darkness." Throughout his essay, Achebe notes how Conrad used Africa as a background only, and how he "set Africa up as a foil to Europe," (Achebe, p.251) while he also "projects the image of Africa as the other world,' the antithesis of Europe and therefore of civilizations" (Achebe, p.252). By his own interpretations of the text, Achebe shows that Conrad eliminates "The African as a human factor," thereby "reducing Africa to the role of props" (Achebe, p.257).
The diaries Conrad kept during his journey through the Congo gives detailed descriptions of the monotonous African landscape. Conrad wrote that the landscape of the African coast looked the same every single day. This is reflected in Marlow’s narration of the jungle where shapes and forms cannot be made out clearly. The monotonous landscape differed from what Conrad had expected of this exotic location. When he was still a young kid, he had once boasted that he would someday journey to the heart of Africa. However, the actual journey was not at all what he expected it to be. Conrad was shocked at the men in the African colony. He was repulsed by the European colonizers because of the horrible treatment of the natives as well as the unlawful aggressive pursuit of loot. Conrad witnessed atrocities committed by the European colonizers, which helped to form his opinions on the colonization of Africa. In the novel, Conrad uses sarcasm to display his displeasure towards the European colonizers’ treatment of the natives. The Europeans in the book are called pilgrims and the natives are called cannibals, however the pilgrims are the ones who are much more willing to use force to resolve their problems.
"I don't want to bother you much with what happened to me personally,' [Conrad] began, showing in this remark the weakness of many tellers of tales who seem so often unaware of what their audience would most like to hear" (Conrad, 9). Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad's best-known work, has been examined on many bases more than I can possibly list here, but including imperialism, colonialism, and racism. I would reason that all bases of analysis are perfectly acceptable through which to critique Conrad's novella, or any piece of writing. I would reason this, were some of these bases mainly, racism not taken to an extreme level. In arguing racism, many critics seem to take Heart of Darkness as Conrad's unwavering view on Africa, Africans, life, or whatever else one may please to take it as. I, therefore, propose that Heart of Darkness be taken for what it truly is: a work of fiction set in late 19th century Europe and Africa.
In Heart of Darkness, cultural identity and the dominance of the European, white male is constructed and asserted through the constructions of the "other", that is the African natives and females, largely through language and setting. Thus, while claims of Conrad's forwardness in producing a text that critiques colonialism may be valid, Heart of Darkness is ultimately a product of it's time and therefore confirms the contextual notions of difference.
Heart of Darkness describes a voyage to Africa, common for the British still, despite the horrific treatment which was apparent of colonization. The chaotic, stream-of-consciousness style Conrad took on helped to display the confusion, and made the reader have to interpret for themselves what they thought the writer meant. Conrad experiments with this style, leaving some sentences without ending: "not a sentimental pretense but an idea;…something you can set up…and offer a sacrifice to…." (Conrad, Longman p. 2195), a very choppy form of literature and causes the reader to fill in the holes and interpret themselves, alone. Conrad skips about from talking of the "two women knitted black wool feverishly" at the gate of the city (of hell), to his aunt which he feels women are "out of touch with truth," to how the British are as "weak-eyed devil(s) of a rapacious and pitiless folly" (Conrad, Longman pp. 2198, 2199, & 2202). Conrad's mind moves about as ours do along a large duration of literary monologue to convey to the reader the author's ideas, as interpreted by the reader.
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 importance of cultural context within any type of text is essential in order to elucidate a distinct argument. In Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, a novella starring the experiences of an ivory trader in Central Africa named Charles Marlow, various themes of racism and human cruelty are discussed in relation to its contextual features. The film “Apocalypse Now” by Francis Ford Coppola adapts this idea of implementing a correlation between its central ideas to a specific cultural context as well. The central research question this extended essay focuses on is how do different features used in Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad and the film version of "Apocalypse Now" by Francis Ford Coppola help criticize imperialism? In Heart of Darkness and “Apocalypse Now,” the struggle between the barbaric nature of the natives and the oppressive nature of Imperialism is questioned through the use of characterization of various factors.
Achebe, Chinua. "An Image of Africa: Racism in Conrad's Heart of Darkness." Heart of Darkness: An Authoritative Text, Backgrounds and Sources, Essays in Criticism. 3rd ed. Ed. Robert Kimbrough. New York: W.W. Norton, 1988. 251-262.