Comparing Heart Of Darkness 'And Interpreter Of Maladies'
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Heart of Darkness Essay
The internal and external struggles that characters endure when trying to identify what is actually just against society’s perspective of what is right is a common theme amongst Colonial Era authors. Two prominent works that depict this idea include Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, and Jhumpa Lahiri’s “Interpreter of Maladies”. Heart of Darkness portrays the travels of the young explorer Marlow. In his travels, Marlow discovers it may be harder than he thought for him to maintain his sanity as he is bombarded with different cultural variations. Lahiri’s “Interpreter of Maladies” on the other hand contrast the more common perspective being on the outside looking in, to being on the inside looking out. In Heart of Darkness,…show more content… There it is before you - smiling, frowning, inviting, grand, mean, insipid, or savage, and always mute with an air of whispering” (Conrad 374). When Marlow arrives in Africa, he’s surprised to see that widespread death and poverty that seems to shroud Africa. He even generalizes all of the native tribes and makes them out to be savages. Whenever he refers to the natives, he labels them as, “cannibals drowning in their own savagery” (Conrad 386). Marlow’s generalizations make his story unreliable and bias. His tendencies become like the explorers before him that he strived to avoid. Hildegard Hoeller makes an interesting hypothesis about Marlow’s behavior saying, “Marlow was not truly insane, but acted just as any other human being would if they were taken out of their comfort zone, and plunged into a completely new environment” (Hoeller 170). The only problem, with Hoeller’s speculation, is that Marlow forced himself into an unfamiliar situation. One would assume he would have known the risk before he ventured into uncharted territory. Hoeller’s theory can be expressed through Lahiri’s “Interpreter of Maladies”. Mr. Kapasi, the tour guide, judges the foreign tendencies of Mrs. Das, and makes a generalization wondering, “Do all Americans act this way” (Lahiri 73). Lahiri takes the more conventional narration approach to elucidate how the cultural…show more content… For example, when he’s talking to Kurtz and says, “Fillin”(Conrad 408). One of the main distinctions between man and animal in terms of human nature is the ability to reason. Take this ability away, and one removes the one sure element of human nature, free will. Lahiri challenges this concept by giving the insiders more dialogue and communication skills in her work. Mrs. Das, who is an outsider is unable to communicate in the foreign land without the help of Kapasi. This is the direct opposing theme to Conrad’s style of Kurtz, or Marlow being the voice for the natives. Additionally, Lahiri suggest that even when the mental impact that cultural differences have, one is left with an even clearer image of community. In the text, when Kapasi and Mrs. Das enter the dark room, “Something happened when the room was dark. They were able to talk to each other again” (Lahiri