Comparing Heart Of Darkness And Things Fall Apart

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Kate Miller Sousa English III AP 30 March 2015 Heart of Darkness and Things Fall Apart presents two different ways of illustrating Africa and the natives that subsist there. Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness presents Africa through the perspective of the colonizing Europeans, depicting the natives living in Africa as savages. In response to Conrad's bigoted delineation of the natives, Chinua Achebe wrote Things Fall Apart through the point of view of the natives in order to show Africans as a cultured and thriving society rather than as primitives. Things Fall Apart follows Okonkwo's life as he strives for prestige in his community. Upon European missionaries arrival in Umuofia, Okonkwo tries to safeguard the culture that the missionaries…show more content…
While on his journey through the Congo, Marlow, describes the natives the encounters through his point of view, as savages, drawing comparisons to animals. When Marlow comes across the open grove where natives go to die, he says describes them as "nothing earthly now" and "nothing but black shadows of disease and starvation" instead of dying men. (Conrad 17). The men are not members of society with emotions and morals, but rather a collection of atoms with no characteristics that can distinguish one "creature" from another. No insight is given to the personality of these men and so it is difficult to secern where one man ends and the next begins. Marlow's misconceptions originate from the stereotype that all Africans consist of the same, non-descript characteristics, unlike the Europeans who are complex and described great detail. Furthermore, the way in which the man crawls on hands and knees to the river to drink is animal-like and degrading. From Marlow's…show more content…
"The prehistoric man was cursing us, praying to us, welcoming could tell?... We glided past like phantoms, wondering and secretly appalled, as sane men would be before an enthusiastic outbreak in a mad house" (Conrad 35). During most of the novel the native's language is never exemplified. For most of the novel, "In the place of speech, [the natives] made 'a violent babble of uncouth sounds'" instead of expressing their opinions (Achebe, Image 341). The omission of the native's language suggests that the Africans are not sophisticated enough to have anything legitimate to say. During the brief moments where the natives do speak, the subjects that they discuss only further exemplify their barbarism, such as cannibalism: "In the case of the cannibals the incomprehensible grunts that had thus served them for speech suddenly proved inadequate for Conrad's purpose of letting the European glimpse the unspeakable craving in their hearts" (Achebe, Image 341). This tactic of restrained speaking from the natives contributes more to the theme of European inferiority that is present throughout the

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