Good Of An Idea Essay, Research Paper
Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad and in Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe both involve the colonization on Africa. In Heart of Darkness, the author talks about how savage the natives were and how much there was a need to update the living conditions of the natives and to help them become better people. In Things Fall Apart, the author talks about how the white people came in with their bicycles and their new religion. He talks about how they turned some of their own people against them. In his eyes, the white people came in to destroy the natives beliefs, traditions and gods. They tried to convince the natives that there was only one God and not a group of lesser Gods. Achebe and Conrad do not have the same perception of the effects of colonization on Africa.
In Things Fall Apart, the author views the colonization of the white people as an invasion on the natives’ living conditions. When the white people first begin to move into the natives’ land the natives thought that it was a joke, but they soon realize that the white people are beginning to take over. Many of the native people begin to join the white people and worship their God, including Okonkwo’s son Nwoye. “One morning Okonkwo’s cousin, Amikwu, was passing by the church on his way from the neighbouring village, when he saw Nwoye among the Christians.”( Achebe, 151) Amikwu tells Okonkwo this and upon Nwoye’s return home, he beats him and kicks him out of his house. Nwoye eventually becomes happy about leaving his father and is given a new name Isaac. This does not help the way some of the natives feel about the colonization. They are beginning to lose the members of there own faith to join the white mans faith.
On the other hand, In Heart of Darkness, the author feels that the colonization of the white man will help the natives become better people and provide them with better living conditions. One of the things they were against was how the natives were like animals. He talks about how they were like dogs on hind legs. ” He was an improved specimen; he could fire up a vertical boiler. He was there below me, and, upon my word, to look at him was edifying as seeing a dog in a parody of breeches and a feather hat, walking on his hind legs.” (Conrad 61) Conrad is talking about the fireman Marlow had on his boat and how he was a improved specimen but people still see them as animals, like dogs, just standing on their hind legs. Conrad’s opinion is that with the colonization of Africa, this will change the way the natives are looked at. They will finally be looked at as improved specimen.
Achebe sees the colonization of the white man as wrong and disrespectful of the natives. One of the things the white people begin to do is arrest those natives who go against their religion and this is beginning to cause problems in the villages. “They guarded the prison, which was full of men who had offended against the white man’s law. Some of these prisoners had thrown away their twins and some had molested the Christians.” (Achebe 174-175) At first what seemed to be a joke in Umofia when the white people arrived has now caused many problems, the natives are being arrested for traditions like throwing away twins, which has been a tradition for a long time in their lifestyle. This presses the issue the author has been talking about the entire novel, that the colonization of the white people on Africa, had negative effects because they are beginning to overtake the natives, by arresting them for following their own beliefs. However, Conrad has a different opinion. He feels that with the state Africa is in right now it has the ability to make a civilized European go mad. Conrad talks about the smell and how it smells so bad, compared to a colonized European city. He makes reference to it smelling like a dead hippo. “You can’t breathe dead hippo waking, sleeping, and eating, and at the same time keep your precarious grip on existence.” (Conrad 68) What Conrad means by this is that the smell in Africa is so bad it is hard to keep your grip on being civilized. In his mind the colonization of the white people will prevent this from happening by moving in and making some changes to the way the live, by doing things like burying the dead people that are just lying around.
In Things Fall Apart, the author also talks about how the white people try to turn the natives against many of there beliefs. The natives believe in the fact that they have on high and mighty God and some lesser gods, where as the white people believe in only one God and try to convince the natives to do this as well. “And he told them about this new God, the creator of all the world and all the men and women. He told them that they worshipped false gods, gods of wood and stone.” (Achebe 145) The white people eventually try to convince the natives to join this religion and there was a rumour that one of the natives that joined the Christians killed on of the sacred Gods, the snake, but that did not actually happen. One of the white men also goes as far as to rip off the sacred mask of one of the egwugwu. This causes problems as well because the natives worshipped these people and it was very important that their true identity not be shown.
In Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad and in Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe, both authors have a different perception of the effects of colonization on Africa. Conrad, feels that the colonization will improve many of the problems the natives have which include how they leave the dead lying around to rot and by making the white people no longer look at them as animals. Conrad’s thinking is that the colonization of the white will change all these things and help the natives become better people. However, Achebe feels that the colonization of the white man is like the invasion of the natives lifestyle. They come into the natives land and try to change all there traditions and believes and as well cause some of the natives to join with them, which causes even more problems, therefore, Achebe and Conrad have very different perceptions on the effects of colonization on Africa.
Achebe, Chinua, Things Fall Apart, Doubleday, 1959
Conrad, Joseph, Heart of Darkness, Doubleday and J.M Dent & Sons Ltd., 1902