Recognizing the truths in society and disregarding the false accusations from outside forces. Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart questions and challenges the previous literary discussions from Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness and other colonial texts by constituting a new perspective of African history and beliefs through the use of argumentative, narrative, and linguistic strategies. Although Conrad's "Heart of Darkness" does dispute the morality of European imperialism in Africa, racism is still showcased by the Europeans at this time. An example is the relationship between his African American cousins with the biblical symbols of the evil night. Throughout Heart of Darkness, sin is portrayed by the images of darkness and Christianity and enlightenment is portrayed by the light in the novel.
This is where the racism comes from, a civilization seeing itself as superior to another. In order for us to determine if Joseph Conrad was racist or not, we have to take a look at the society that he lived in. Around the turn of the century England was at the height of its power and was spreading its influence every where. As England starting spreading its power, it felt the need to "civilize savages" mainly this meant the people of Africa. Since the people of England saw Africans as inferior of course it reflected in how they talked and acted towards them.
When I read Conrad’s The Heart of Darkness, the language hinted to racism not from the standpoint of Conrad, but from Marlow,the protagonist and the other major and minor characters. This is why I can not commit to Achebe’s accusations for Conrad and his work because Conrad’s The Heart of Darkness is a product of its time. Achebe begins his argument with the comparison of the two rivers: Thames and The Congo. He writes: The b... ... middle of paper ... ... that exists within. Evidently, Achebe believes Conrad is a racist and his work is a product of his racism; however, I do not agree with this statement.
Heart of Darkness reflects the realities of world in the 19th century, that is Africans suffered and died because of European brutality during slave trading and colonialism. Unlike others, Conrad does not defence European colonisation and degrade the native African. The purpose of degradation in this novella is to show the dark side of the European colonialism and the unfair treatment of the natives.
3. Whites often referred to Africa as the “Dark Continent,” a place of evil. Considering Igbo traditional beliefs and the colonial encounter between Britain and the Igbo, where is evil located in this book? In the Things Fall Apart, Achebe (1969) portrays Nigeria at a time when the arrival of the British was intrusive as they crept within Nigeria’s borders and made an overwhelming influence while they claimed that Nigerians were ultimately evil and needed to be controlled. In essence, it appears that one of Achebe’s (1969) goals is to convey to readers what the British’s alternative motives were when British colonialism occurred.
Furthermore, we must keep in mind that Conrad was a product of a rather racist period in history, and it seems unfair to penalize him for not being able to transcend his contemporaries in this respect. This novel, it seems, must be read in a symbolic manner. Objects and characters are not so simple as they seem. Achebe tells us: "Quite simply it is the desire... in Western psychology to set Africa up as a foil to Europe, as a place of negations at once remote and vaguely familiar, in comparison with which Europe's own state of spiritual grace will be manifest" (251-252). If Africa is a foil to Europe, as stated here, then perhaps Conrad only uses the continent of Africa symbolically, without regard to its people - as Achebe himself states, descriptions of Africans as anything more than vague limbs in the darkness are few and far between in the novel.
Victimization implies a state of helplessness, that discredits people of African descent as being unuseful to humanity. It takes away history and significance of Africa, starting the story not at the beginning but at when western civilization infected African lands, with the idea of colonization. Bleby in his speech in the 1858s addresses the British’s problematic self view of the inaccurate picture of Queen Victoria as a savior of the slaves who “hugged their chains.” (Speech of Rev. Henry Bleby) This is a political propaganda that “historically” absolves the sins of slavery as long the public opinion is that without the British slaves could not be free. In America this is the main focus of slavery that is a shared belief taught in the education system.
Joseph Conrad’s novella explores the concept of imperialism and makes reference to the exploration and colonization of Africa. The text itself, which is narrated in a third-person perspective (to subdue the demeaning nature), is bluntly degrading and disparaging toward the natives of Africa. The native African people are blatantly ostracized in Conrad’s Heart of Darkness with the author’s use of derogatory and condemning language throughout the text, the juxtaposition and hesitant comparison of the whites and the natives, and the idea presented of the European men being the saviors of Africa. Rather than display those of Africa as beings, Conrad uses belittling language to not only present the native people as beasts, but to also establish the theme of savagery in the novella. When describing the natives, Joseph Conrad has no hesitation to condemn the people.
One of the most baffling aspects of European interest in African people is the civilizations collective distaste of and fascination with people of African descent. The initial journey into Africa, and the planning that preceded it, spawned many of the most enlightening theories about African people. These theories, usually in support of African savagery and inferiority and in favor of European superiority and civility were based in the colonial mentalities of that time. Of the most notable theories is the idea that African religious system was pagan and that African people were inferior because of their darker skin pigmentation and “beast-like” nature. These theories dispersed rapidly across the globe, and even today people of African-descent collectively, however subconsciously, grow into them.
In Hard Times the wrong philosophy is utilitarianism and in The adventures of Huckleberry Finn it is the philosophy that whites are superior to blacks and that blacks are thus their property. Mark Twain and Charles Dickens were both against abusive societies that made the lives of people a struggle. They both lived in such societies and wanted to change this. They dreamt of an idealistic society where people are equal and listen to their good hearts and used their writing skills and wrote novels like Hard Times and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn to educate people. References: Dickens, Charles.