Heart of Darkness vs. Things Break Down
Nse Nsekhe AP English Essay 04/19/2013 Heart of Darkness vs. Things Fall Apart “Heart of Darkness” and “Things Fall Apart” show a variety of ways of illustrating Africa in literature. In “Heart of Darkness”, Joseph Conrad reveals the continent of Africa through the stereotyped viewpoint of the European sailors, who tended to illustrate the locals of the land as savages, and in reaction to that matter, Chinua Achebe wrote “Things Break down” through the non-stereotypical illustrating viewpoint of the natives of the land to reveal Africans, not as savages or primitives, however as members of a standard society.
European bias is presented in a proven method “Heart of Darkness”. The primary character of “Heart of Darkness” or protagonist, Marlow, is a sailor who travels through Africa and describes the locals that he is available in contact with as savages. Marlow compares these different people to animals of some specific nature or simply to the wilderness of the jungle, respectively. There was a point in this unique where Marlow’s vision came in contact with a pit in the ground.
He saw that it was a pit made for the natives to go and rest in peace or simply put pass away. Marlow describes those natives that were there specifying, “Black shapes bent, lay, sat between the trees, raiding the trunks, clinging to the earth in all attitudes of pain, desertion, and anguish they were absolutely nothing earthly now, nothing however black shadows of illness and hunger Among these creatures rose to his hands and knees and went off on all fours towards the river to drink” (Conrad 17).
This detailed representation shows the natives as “shadows” and nothing more than mere “black shapes” and not as individuals or males who are simply just dying. These males are no longer males, they have actually been stripped of all their characteristics that makes them human to dehumanizing characteristics where none can tell the difference of one dying man to another. None of the dying guys are described by oneself, that makes it challenging for the reader to see where one man ends to where the private starts. This produces an effect where these individuals appear like eometric shapes and symbols of some sort. These representations in which Marlow specified originates from a very stereotypical stating. The saying is that all Africans are made the very same and one can not inform the difference between them even if much effort is applied. Similarly, there was an African male who was crawling to the river in order to quench his thirst. The way he was crawling in basic is extremely dehumanizing. To make the matter worse and more remarkable, he crawled on his hands and knees which is animal-like and extremely degrading.
The guy is described to be on all fours just to get a drink, but when looking towards the European side, there is no other way in Paradise that they ‘d be explained like that. None. On the other hand, the European individuals would consume from a tap or perhaps boil water from a well of some sort in order to have a rejuvenating drink. The locals are compared to animals of the wild when Marlow begins explaining one of the workers on the ship. Marlow states, “to look at him was as edifying as seeing a canine in a parody of breeches and a plume hat strolling on his hind legs” (Conrad 36).
This worker just reveals that the savages who are the Africans have a possibility of being tamed since, “He ought to have been clapping his hands and stamping his feet on the bank” (Conrad 37). One can see that this man has actually been stripped of being a person. He is now an animal, a pet dog, maybe, who is being trained to do some kind of trick. From Marlow’s perspective he is still an animal and none the less, this male is pretending to be a civilized being. Marlow doesn’t stop there though. He continues to downgrade this European male by describing him to be much like the locals on the land.
All in all, this is stereotypical. Moreover, Marlow keeps his ball rolling by depicting the African locals as “ancient” and “basic”. He states, “The prehistoric male was cursing us, hoping to us, inviting us who could inform? … we glided past like phantoms, wondering and privately horrified, as sane men would be before an enthusiastic break out in a mad house” (Conrad 35). In the mind of Marlow, the natives are so primitive that they are in an element denied of having a language. Marlow sits there and begins to wonder “who could inform? instead of making an effort to comprehend what the locals were stating out of their mouth. What can really be inferred from this quote is that, the natives were probably leaping up and down like a lot of kindergarten trainees at recess or something similar to that. One can’t truly be sure, however in all Marlow didn’t even attempt to comprehend what the native Africans were stating most likely due to the fact that he felt that they were savages, or maybe their intellectual frame of mind wasn’t as great and average to the Europeans, or the native Africans didn’t have anything reasonable to state.
Joseph Conrad with respect and resemblance to Marlow, might have picked to not consist of a specific language probably since he was affected by the European stereotypes of Africans. What can be inferred from this is that, the removal of a language recommends that the native Africans have absolutely nothing that is sophisticated enough to state that would be sensible or essential to contribute to the plot of the novel. In “Heart of Darkness”, the native Africans are very underdeveloped, just like a developing nation would be, in order to have a control of language.
Though, there are minutes in which there is language which supports the native savage (Africans) at which this is the time a reader may even hear an African speak. Joseph Conrad uses a specific method when he composes. He uses a minimal exposure to the native Africans’ voices which attempts to neglect anything that may bring stereotype about. In reaction to Joseph Conrad and the Europeans and their usage of stereotyped representation of Africans, Chinua Achebe, the author of “Things Fall apart” portrayed Africans in a humanizing and standard society.
The Igbo tribe breaks the European stereotype in “Things Break Down”. The main character or protagonist Okonkwo does not concur nor does he disagree with the European belief that is shown in the book. He is explained in the novel to be, “a man of action, a guy of war” (Achebe 8). Okonkwo is a really honorable man in the Umofia village, although he has a very displeasing streak which is of violent nature. With Okonkwo’s strength and failure to be feminine, he hesitates of anything that is of feminine nature. “His whole life was controlled by fear, the fear of failure and of weak point.
It was the worry of himself, lest he ought to be found to resemble his father. Even as a little kid, he resented his daddy’s failure and weak point. Therefore Okonkwo was ruled by one enthusiasm to dislike everything that his father Unoka had actually enjoyed. One of those things was gentleness and another was idleness” (Achebe 10). What can be presumed from this quote is that, this is probably why Okonkwo was constantly in requirement of something that was filled with action but he still didn’t style “idleness”. With the mix of these 2 aspects, Okonkwo can not handle the result.
Instead when violence is used to this equation, Okonkwo is as great as can be. With this being said, this further supports the European stereotype as savage-like. When looking deeply into the information that “Things Fall Apart” display, one can notice the contrasting aspects in between Umofia and Okonkwo. Okonkwo doesn’t have any regard for his other halves. As an Igbo male, Okonkwo man-handles his partners and kids without holding back. Discovering the tone at this point in the novel, one can see that it is quite typical for Igbo guys in general to beat the ripe bananas out of their wives and children, but at a certain time.
Okonkwo man-handled his partner during Umofia’s Week of Peace. Beating your partners and children in order for them to have regard for you is one thing, but when one disobeys the conventional setting of the clans week of peace then drastic issues do emerge. “Okonkwo was not the man to stop beating someone half-way through, not even for worry of a goddess. It was unheard-of to beat someone during the spiritual week” (Achebe 19). Since Okonkwo felt as if he was the male on top of all which he could do as it pleased him so, problems emerged in between himself and Umofia.
The feminine force is his wife. And with that being kept in mind, Okonkwo might not eliminate himself from his violent streak for even a week. Simply a week … but when comparing this to the point of view of “Heart of Darkness” this type and absence of self-discipline goes to the Europeans motive that Africans are savages. Towards completion of the unique, Okonkwo dedicates suicide by hanging himself. When the District Commissioner look at Okonkwo’s lifeless body, he specifies “In the book which he planned to compose The story of this man who had eliminated a messenger and hanged himself would make interesting reading.
He had actually already selected the title of the book, after much idea: The Pacification of the Primitive Tribes of the Lower Niger” (Achebe 117). What can be inferred from the title of the book is that the District Commissioner is prejudiced about the native Africans. In “Heart of Darkness”, Africans are also referred to as “primitive”, which shows that the European’s stereotype is so large that it is able to be utilized in two extremely separate and different works. All in all, in “Heart of Darkness” the Europeans concepts was that all Africans are the exact same; they are primitive, savages, and inhuman.
In contrast to that stereotype, “Things Break down” revealed a traditional society, where the members are not inhuman. Unsatisfactorily, Okonkwo who is the protagonist of “Things Fall Apart” was not an efficient representation of a civilized individual of a standard society. But, he was a remarkable member of the society. And although the stereotype of Africans has actually not been ruined, it empowers the European beliefs. Functions cited Achebe, Chinua. Things Break Down: With Links. Austin: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1995. Print. Conrad, Joseph. Heart of Darkness; And, The Secret Sharer. New York: Signet Classic, 1997. Print.