As a man is captured, his first instinct is to try and break free from his shackles and chains. Primal urges such as this often accompany humans when they are forced, as in capture, to rely on their most basic instincts to survive.
In this manner, natives in Africa acted upon instinct when the Europeans arrived to take their land and freedom. The short story Shooting an Elephant by George Orwell and the novel Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad revolve around the time when colonialism had a foothold in many parts of the world. This setting is one of conflict with the native peoples in these countries who are fighting and rebelling against the colonizers. Building upon this, both authors instill in the protagonists a sense of the wrongs they, as an extension of colonialism, are doing. In Shooting an Elephant and the Heart of Darkness there is an ongoing struggle between society and natives which leads the main character to realize the destructive nature of colonization.
Each work is littered by destruction that comes in the forms of: a control over the native population; a need to keep order among the colony; and a mental destruction incurred from having views opposed to the ruling government’s. That each book denounces colonization is no surprise; but each present a conflict to make clear the protagonist’s struggle. In Shooting an Elephant, this conflict is between George Orwell and the natives over an unruly elephant, and in The Heart of Darkness the conflict is between Marlow and happenings on the river Congo.
Walking into such a wilderness must have been harrowing for even the toughest of individuals, however, with a g...
... middle of paper ...
...aging such as the ones experienced by Orwell and Marlow serve to remind of the dangers of absolute power in the hands of any man. These works illustrate the need to allow cultures to thrive and be different from the more powerful and influential bodies on the earth. Orwell and Marlow tell their stories in order to explain how they realized the truth about corruptive government as far back as the Nineteenth Century. This should serve as a reminder now as a new age dawns upon mankind, where everything can be bought and sold. The basic message is the same, however, that we use power destructively “to avoid looking [like fools].”
Orwell, George, Shooting An Elephant. Ed. Messenger, W.E., A 20th Century Anthology. Scarborough: Prentice-Hall Canada Inc., 1984
Conrad, Joseph, The Heart of Darkness. Toronto: Bantam Books, November 1987
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- Heart of Darkness, a novella written by Joseph Conrad, explores the growth of colonialism in Africa, narrated by a man, named Marlow, telling his life experiences to his crewmates. Over the course of Heart of Darkness, certain aspects of colonialism and those involved are revealed in a darker form than usual. Conrad provides an anti-colonialism novel rich with hidden explanations as to why. Heart of Darkness is an anti-colonialism novel, because To begin with, the Europeans saw the people they colonized as lower life forms.... [tags: colonialism, life, forms, exportation]
624 words (1.8 pages)
- A nation of tortured slaves with bodies so emaciated one could count the ribs, death lingering in every corner as overworked natives line the ground with their lifeless forms, a people so scarred that evil men are allowed to rule as gods. Unfortunately, the gruesome description reigns true for African tribes that fell victim to the cruelty of colonialism. Pointing out the abhorrent evils of the imperial tradition, Joseph Conrad wrote Heart of Darkness to expose the possibility of malevolence in a human being.... [tags: Heart of Darkness Essays]
1807 words (5.2 pages)
- Exploring the Evil of Colonialism in Heart of Darkness A masterpiece of twentieth-century writing, Heart of Darkness exposes the tenuous fabric that holds "civilization" together and the brutal horror at the center of European colonialism. Joseph Conrad's novella, Heart of Darkness, describes a life-altering journey that the protagonist, Marlow, experiences in the African Congo. The story explores the historical period of colonialism in Africa to exemplify Marlow's struggles. Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness is most often read as an attack upon colonialism. Marlow, like other Europeans of his time, is brought up to believe certain things about colonialism, but his views change as h... [tags: Heart of Darkness ]
1544 words (4.4 pages)
- The Light and Dark of Colonialism in Heart of Darkness In the opening of his novel, Heart of Darkness, Conrad, through Marlow, establishes his thoughts on colonialism. He says that conquerors only use brute force, "nothing to boast of" because it arises, by accident, from another's weakness. Marlow compares his subsequent tale of colonialism with that of the Roman colonization of Northern Europe and the fascination associated with such an endeavor. However, Marlow challenges this viewpoint by painting a heinous picture of the horrors of colonialist ventures as we delve deeper into the recesses of the novel.... [tags: Heart Darkness essays]
1243 words (3.6 pages)
- George Orwell's Shooting an Elephant as an Attack on Colonialism and Imperialism The glorious days of the imperial giants have passed, marking the death of the infamous and grandiose era of imperialism. George Orwell's essay, Shooting an Elephant, deals with the evils of imperialism. The unjust shooting of an elephant in Orwell's story is the central focus from which Orwell builds his argument through the two dominant characters, the elephant and its executioner. The British officer, the executioner, acts as a symbol of the imperial country, while the elephant symbolizes the victim of imperialism.... [tags: Shooting Elephant Essays Orwell ]
837 words (2.4 pages)
- Imperialism Exposed in Conrad's Heart of Darkness Conrad's "Heart of Darkness" is, as Edward Said says, a story about European "acts of imperial mastery" (1503)-its methods, and the effects it has on human nature-and it is presumable that Conrad incorporates much of his own experience in the Congo and his opinions about imperialism into the story, as another recent critic also suggests: "he seems to approve of Marlow," the narrator (Achebe 1492). These revelations of the author are conveyed to the reader through Marlow's observations, descriptions, reactions, and statements.... [tags: Heart Darkness essays]
1042 words (3 pages)
- The Light and Dark of Colonialism Exposed in Heart of Darkness In Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad, challenges a dominant view by exposing the evil nature and the darkness associated with the colonialist ventures. It is expressed by Marlow as "robbery with violence, aggravated murder on a great scale, and men going at it blind - as it is very proper for those who tackle a darkness." The European colonialists are portrayed as blind lightbearers, people having a façade of progress and culture, yet are blind of their actions.... [tags: Heart Darkness essays]
1534 words (4.4 pages)
- Media Manipulation Exposed in George Orwell's “Shooting an Elephant” The phrase “the power of the press” is used often, but what exactly is the power of the press. Since the beginning of news reporting, it’s been known that what actually gets into the news reports is monitored and carefully picked by higher authorities. What isn’t widely known, however, is that the media can use specific wording and phrases that, on the surface, look like normal news coverage, but are actually a technique of the media to control the images people see and the words they hear and read.... [tags: George Orwell's Shooting an Elephant]
1588 words (4.5 pages)
- From the onset of the novella Heart of Darkness, the narrator Marlow compares his subsequent tale of colonialism with that of the Roman colonization of Northern Europe and the fascination associated with such an endeavor. However, throughout his narration, Marlow challenges this viewpoint by painting a heinous picture of the horrors of colonialist ventures. In the opening of his tale, Conrad, through Marlow, establishes his thoughts on colonialism. He says that conquerors only use brute force, "nothing to boast of" because it arises, by accident, from another's weakness.... [tags: Essays on Heart of Darkness]
1854 words (5.3 pages)
- Foolishness and Maliciousness in Exposed in Heart of Darkness Joseph Conrad paralleled the Eldorado Expedition in his novel Heart of Darkness with the Katanga Expedition of 1890-1892. By doing so, he illustrated the folly and malevolence of the leaders of the Katanga Expedition and of Imperialist profiteers in general. The foundations for the Katanga Expedition were laid in 1883 when King Leopold proposed that he would leave the Congo state to Belgium in his will if he could borrow 25 million francs without interest to finance development of the area.... [tags: Heart Darkness essays]
791 words (2.3 pages)