Things Fall Apart

Heart of Darkness and Things Fall Apart: Complements, or Contrasts?

When the Europeans arrived in Nigeria to harvest ivory and spread their religious ideals, many Africans were exploited and their cultures were irreversibly changed. Two novels, Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad and Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe, provide accounts of how the white man impacted Africa. Yet whether the novels actually complement each other is questionable. Conrad's work has been labeled "racist" by Chinua and contains some elements, such as language and perspective, that allow it to be open to interpretation. Though suggestions of racism do exist in Conrad's Heart of Darkness, further analyzation shows that it does depict some sympathy towards the Africans. It particularly shows African dignity and culture through contrast with the brutality of the Europeans, making the book a complement to Things Fall Apart.

In both works, the authors show the humanity of African culture through the actions and traditions of the Nigerians. Conrad, for example, emphasizes the amount of control exhibited by the locals, particularly through Marlow's reactions and observations. Though he says he "would just as soon have expected restraint from a hyena prowling amongst the corpses of a battlefield"...

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