Imperialism: Good or Evil?

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Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe, and Heart of Darkness by Joesph Conrad both analyze the imperialism of Africa in the late 1890’s to mid-1900’s. Things Fall Apart focuses on the native’s perspective, painting a negative picture of the Europeans. Heart of Darkness is from the European’s point of view, and depicts the natives as “savages”. Chinua Achebe wrote Things Fall Apart as a reaction novel to Heart of Darkness, as he felt that Conrad gave an inaccurate account of the African culture. Both novels recognize the main character's personal evils as well as their adversary’s. Robert Louis Stevenson said, “In all of us, two natures are at war - the good and the evil. All our lives the fight goes on between them, and one of them must conquer.” In Heart of Darkness by Joesph Conrad, two characters Marlow and Kurtz, struggle between the good and evil inside of them. In Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe, main character Okonkwo comes off as heartless and evil, but some of his actions prove that there is good in him. Marlow, Kurtz, and Okonkwo can be considered as morally ambiguous characters due to the fact that the reader can never clearly define them as purely evil or purely good because of their behavior and how it impacts the overall theme of the darkness in human nature in the novels.
After traveling to Africa to fulfill his dream, Marlow struggles to not be pulled into the darkness by the many evils of Africa, greed, and human nature. When Marlow arrives in Africa, he is surrounded by death. Marlow begins to see the evil in the Company through the mistreatment of the natives, although he never tries to do anything about it. Marlow doesn’t regard the natives as equals and also believes them to be savages like the Company does, b...

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...e of darkness of human nature is embodied by Marlow, Kurtz, and Okonkwo and plays a role in their questionable morality. Their moral ambiguity has a major impact on the novel by showing the conflicting opinions of natives, Europeans, and imperialism altogether.

Works Cited

Achebe, Chinua. Things Fall Apart. New York: Anchor, 1994. Print.
Conrad, Joseph. Heart of Darkness. New York: Knopf, 1993. Print.
SparkNotes Editors. “SparkNote on Things Fall Apart.” SparkNotes LLC. 2002. Web. 30 Oct. 2013. <>.
SparkNotes Editors. “SparkNote on Heart of Darkness.” SparkNotes LLC. 2002. Web. 30 Oct. 2013. <
"Quotes About Good And Evil." Goodreads. Ed. Elizabeth Chandler. Otis Chandler, Jan. 2007. Web. 21 Nov. 2013. .
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