Humans, being a visually oriented species, lack objectivity in their actions and observations; two people could interpret any particular incident in countless ways. Joseph Conrad’s attitude towards imperialism in Heart of Darkness ignited a flame of controversy. Cedric Watts and Chinua Achebe, two prominent writers, took different sides on this seemingly endless debate; a debate originating from the “darkness”. In Watts’s Indirect Methods Convey Conrad’s Views of Imperialism, Watts argues that Conrad is an artistic anti-imperialist, subliminally conveying the “corruption and hypocrisy of imperialism” (Watts, p.1). Achebe interpreted Conrad’s intentions in a completely opposite manner compared to Watts; Achebe’s critique of Conrad’s novella – Conrad’s Racism – revolved around the imperialistic aspects of Conrad’s personnel, and the imperialistic-byproducts that were notable in Conrad’s novella.
However, their participation in the economy was under white terms. This was demonstrated in Cobb’s experiences with the marketplace. Unable to negotiate as a black man, he chose to use a white friend to sell his cotton for a better price (Rosengarten 189). The blatant discrimination Cobb experiences was how many African-Americans were treated when they attempted to engage in the economy. For the Southern population, a successful black businessman did not compliment the preferred rhetoric of a “lazy nigger” (Foner 102).
The value of restraint is stressed throughout Heart of Darkness. On one hand, Marlow is saved by his self-discipline while on the other hand; Kurtz is doomed from his lack of it. Before Marlow embarked on his voyage to Africa, he had a different view. Due to propaganda, he believed that the colonization of the Congo was for the greater good. In his head, he judged that the people of Africa were savages and that colonization would bring them the elation and riches of civilization.
As such, Irving describes Walker as possessing concurrently a willingness to both flaunt his wealth and protect it at the same time. While Tom’s greediness is easily seen through this diction, the reader can also deduce that Irving is making a critique of the industrialists of the time—always eager to flaunt ... ... middle of paper ... ...f Washington Irving’s implementation of literary elements in his short story The Devil and Tom Walker, it becomes clear that the characterization of his protagonist is certainly a negative one. Irving associates Walker with corruption, avarice, and evil. However, this characterization of Tom Walker goes beyond merely providing an entertaining narrative for Irving’s readers. The Devil and Tom Walker being an allegory for the society of Irving’s time, the reader can view Tom Walker’s characterization as a sharp criticism of the banking and industrial system of the time.
In the 19th century, the taboo was all about speaking of ridiculously imaginative things such as living indefinitely or homosexuality, “but his story is also a vivid, though carefully considered, exposure of the corruption of a soul, with a very plain moral, pushed home, to the effect that vice and crime make people coarse and ugly” (Pater). Wilde expresses his ideas through this passage particularly because Basil gushes over Dorian and his beauty in the scene before he reveals the painting to Lord Henry. Many researchers suggest Wilde pushes his ideals over an audience who was not ready for these types of notions suggesting that “The Picture of Dorian Gray is not a novel for the optimist” (Aubrey). The novel is composed of several detrimental qualities to the characters. For instance, Lord Henry’s use of psychological games to manipulate Dorian’s thoughts and actions verifies that there is no hope to be had for the outcome of the novel.
Victor Hugo uses themes that reoccur in both The Hunchback Of Notre Dame and Les Miserables. He clearly states the plights of the century and the great eternal questions that humans have the desire to know but do not have the courage to ask. In Hugo’s novels, modern readers will be enthralled with the larger than life characters and their incessant battle with evil. The two novels have more similarities than differences. They include paradox and irony, a romantic tone, obsession and betrayal as themes, and last they both involve a great deal of imagery and emphasis on characterization and setting.
Both authors acknowledge human pain and suffering, Corruption and vice. Emerson was accused by his contemporaries, including Melville upon occasion, of neglecting these most basic elements of the human condition, turning instead toward the glib optimism of self-reliance. True, Emerson's ideas were rooted in introspection. It was the very essence of humanity's darker side that drove him to search for solutions, for a source of stability, faith, within. "...our faith comes in moments; our vice is habitual... we grant that life is mean; but how did we find out, that it was mean?"
Blake had an uncanny ability to use his work to illustrate the unpleasant and often painful realities around him. His poetry consistently embodies an attitude of revolt against the abuse of class and power that appears guided by a unique brand of spirituality. His spiritual beliefs reached outside the boundaries of religious elites loyal to the monarchy. “He was inspired by dissident religious ideas rooted in the thinking of the most radical opponents of the monarchy during the English Civil War “(E. P. Thompson). Concern with war and the blighting effects of the industrial revolution were displayed in much of his work.
This 20th century critical analysis discusses the novel's downfalls of sentimentality, grandiose violence, and racialist characterization. Baldwin feels that the protest novel is almost always sentimental. He feels that sentimental fiction is inherently dishonest. He writes, "Sentimentality, the ostentatious parading of excessive and spurious emotion, is the mark of dishonesty, the inability to feel; the wet eyes of the sentimentalist betray his aversion to experience, his fear of life, his arid heart; and it is always, therefore, the signal of secret and violent inhumanity, the mask of cruelty" (1654). He explains that Uncle Tom's Cabin is a "very bad novel" with sentimentality similar to Little Women by Louisa May Alcott.
His moral deficiency that defines him as an antihero--and prevents him from being the hero of the story though he is the protagonist--is stressed throughout the novel but is also mainly tempered by his immense ability to love Catherine and the sympathy that his character receives as a result of that love. He is hardened like stone cliffs by his immorality, but he is also softened by his love for Catherine; he is a villain but also a hero. His duality as a character ties into the theme of doubles that connects the two generations of the story while allowing Brontë to point out the imperfections of mankind and our inability to always be a hero.