When the topic like racism is left untouched in the Heart of Darkness, it indicates that there was never a problem nor the case. However, there is so much room to analyze the racialism that is embedded throughout in the novel: "They are called criminals, and they outraged law, like in the bursting shells, had come to them, an insoluble mystery from the sea. All their meagre breasts panted together, the violently dilated nostrils quivered. The eyes stared stonily uphill. They passed me within six inches, without a glance, with that complete, deathlike indifference of unhappy savages.” (46). The natives were enslaved and chained yet, Marlow manages to describe then as dangerous savages who are about to rebel. It is impossible to overlook the stereotypes and ruthless language that are used to depict the Congolese people. Hence, by leaving the racism topic away shows how oblivious the critics are to racialism; Therefore, failing to acknowledge the inferiorities that are used to describe black people. In An Image of Africa, Chinua Achebe, a Nigerian novelist, poet, professor, and critic, who focus on traditional African values during and after the colonial era, challenged the prestige of The Heart of Darkness: “And the question is whether in the novel which celebrates this
Whereas Conrad presents the people of Africa and their culture as barbaric and inferior to Western culture, Achebe vehemently insists that Igbo culture, although not without its flaws, shares common elements of civility with Europe. Conrad’s moral justification of colonialism heavily relies on the questionable assumption that Africa and its inhabitants are unrefined. He portrays an Africa urgently requiring the implementation of civilization, whereas Achebe defends Africa with a compelling personal illustration of the civilized Igbo culture. Conrad’s description of Marlow’s expedition to Africa as “[setting] off for the center of the Earth” suggests that he believes Africa is not only beneath Europe, but also developmentally behind Europe (Conrad 10). The dehumanization of Africans is especially apparent in Conrad’s labeling of an African as “a thing monstrous and free” (32). The notion of the “monstrous” savages being “free” exposes Marlow’s innate fear of a brutal people unchecked by civilization. Moreover, Marlow describes observing a native, an “improved specimen,” as amusing as watching a “dog in a parody of breeches and a feather hat” (33). Associating the African with a circus act belittles the African to either a source of entertainment or a forced laborer. Marlow’s enthrallment with the African parallels his interest in the Congo River, which “[fascinates] [him] as a snake would a bird” (6). Up against Conrad’s powerful prose reproaching Africans, Achebe “sets out to illustrate that before the European colonial powers entered Africa, the Igbos ‘had a philosophy of great depth, value, and beauty . . . and above all, they had dignity’” (Achebe, qtd. in Rhoads 61). Notably, the caveat “before the European colonial powers en...
Chinua Achebe challenges Joseph Conrad's novella depicting the looting of Africa, Heart of Darkness (1902) in his essay "An Image of Africa" (1975). Achebe's is an indignant yet solidly rooted argument that brings the perspective of a celebrated African writer who chips away at the almost universal acceptance of the work as "classic," and proclaims that Conrad had written "a bloody racist book" (Achebe 319). In her introduction in the Signet 1997 edition, Joyce Carol Oates writes, "[Conrad's] African natives are "dusty niggers," cannibals." Conrad [...] painfully reveals himself in such passages, and numerous others, as an unquestioning heir of centuries of Caucasian bigotry" (Oates 10). The argument seems to lie within a larger question; is the main character Charlie Marlow racist, and is Marlow an extension of Conrad's opinion?
“The point of my observations should be quite clear by now, namely that Joseph Conrad was a thoroughgoing racist. That this simple truth is glossed over in criticisms of his work is due to the fact that white racism against Africa is such a normal way of thinking that its manifestations go completely unremarked” (Achebe 176). Achebe believes that people only accept Conrad’s work because they chalk it up to him being with his time. Achebe feels so strongly against Conrad because of his involvement with African history. Achebe’s mission is to change the way Western norms have “set Africa up as a foil to Europe” (Achebe 170). He also wants to create an African identity. However, Achebe appears to be blinded to the fact that he is extremely impacted by the political and social influences, or the norms of his time. Achebe concludes sentiments about Conrad and his beliefs solely from his portrayal of a fictional
“Loneliness is my least favorite thing about life. The thing that I'm most worried about is just being alone without anybody to care for or someone who will care for me.” Anne Hathaway. The quote demonstrates remoteness towards Holden’s feelings because he doesn’t want a strong relationship with close members and strangers because he knows he can’t keep the relationship tight. In the novel The Catcher in the Rye, J.D. Salinger conveys the message that loneliness, dictionary definitions are cliché, loneliness is a depressing feeling you get when one is alone. Holden’s character reflects loneliness through his depression, lack of communication, and lack of mature relationships.
Our society today is full of hundreds, possibly thousands, of different cultures. But keep in mind, this is the number of cultures our society only currently has. There have been many cultures in the past that have not survived from which our society could have possibly learned many lessons from. Most of them have been overwhelmed by more dominant cultures. Just imagine how advanced some of these now extinct cultures could have become.
People believe fate controls life or death; we look at fate as a guideline for our life’s path or as a scapegoat for our wrongdoings. In Things Fall Apart, Ikemefuna’s death does not shock society due to his ill fate. Similarly, Unoka’s bad chi and misfortune inevitably lead to financial issues and failure. However, Ekwefi’s relationship with fate is quite different. As soon as Ekwefi thinks she finally understands her fate, it takes another toll on her life, pulling her in the opposite direction. Constantly battling, Ekwefi struggles with the belief that her destiny will overpower her hopes.
Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart is about different traditional village
cultures in Africa. It also speaks about the British who try and take over the
village by introducing his religion and making it the higher and better religion.
Okonkwo is the narrator of the story.
Conrad writes the natives as the complete antithesis of white people. Whenever he mentions black people or natives, Conrad writes with a very negative connotation and with racist undertones. Conrad is not openly racist; the reader has to read in between the lines of the text to see the racism. In “An Image of Africa: Racism in Conrad’s Heart of Darkness” by Chinua Achebe, Achebe calls Conrad a “through racist” (Achebe 7) and discloses several examples of the blatant racism. Achebe says the Conrad projects Africa as “the other world”. (Achebe 3) By doing so, Conrad is portraying Africa as the complete opposite of Europe. Therefore, for example, when Conrad comments on how uncivilized the natives are, he is also saying that Europeans and whites are the most civilized people. In the novel, when Conrad first describes how he feels when he sees the natives chained, those words were very negative. He writes, “Black rags were wound round their loins, and the short ends behind waggled to and fro like tails. I could see every rib, the joints of their limbs were like knots in a rope; each had an iron collar on his neck, and all were connected together with a chain whose bights swung between them, rhythmically clinking.” (Conrad 23) Reading this more deeply, the reader can see how Conrad is depicting that the black men were lesser than the white men as they wore cloths around their loins, while the white men are describer to have worn shirts and pants. The black men seemed unhealthy, while the white men were written to have impeccable health. Achebe further notes how Conrad subtly tries to convey the differences between native women and white women. Conrad writes that “she was savage and superb, wild-eyed and magnificent” (Conrad 135) and that “she stood looking at us without a stir and like the wilderness
“Just go away Eric; I don’t have time for some silly reminiscing! I have important work to complete, now if you’ll excuse me…” Grayson turned about, and walked stiff-backed towards the elaborately carved door that led to his study.