Things Break Down and Heart of Darkness Criticism
Who gets to speak? Speech and racism in colonial literature As Dennis Leary stated, racism isn’t born, it is taught. Bigotry is a weapon able to denigrate and dehumanize individuals. “Racism has always existed in colonization particularly right after the Europeans colonized the New World, the idea of racial distinctions developed” (LaRocque). Still up until today, the colonial mindset specifically towards black people is due since of economic power. Lots of postcolonial novels show themes such as bigotry, abuse of power, violence and speech to show the viewpoint of both sides of the dispute; the black and the white.
Literature is a gift since it permits people to shape their perspectives of the world. In the novels Things Break down by Chinua Achebe and Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad readers are able to see the postcolonial literature perspective in similar stories from various sides. This essay will analyze speech in Heart of Darkness and Things Break down in order to show how Achebe’s novel exposes the bigotry discovered in Heart of Darkness. Stories are necessary because they form a person’s mind by influencing their lives. Stories develop out of a person’s belief and for that reason can not be disproven (“Comparing”).
These both books through stories represent concerns in various societies and its complexity. Things Fall Apart is a remarkable novel that reveals the life of the Igbo people in Nigeria, Africa. The unique surrounds the main character Okonkwo, a terrible hero who contradicts the fate of his dead father but rather self-preserves himself. Through Okonkwo lots of themes are represented handling violence, masculinity and the significance of religious beliefs for the Igbo tribe. Achebe’s unique programs in information this society and thus the complexity of their lifestyle.
Lgbo people are hardworking, spiritual, loyal and follow the calendar based on harvesting. This points the set of beliefs and systems that native people of Africa have established for their life’s (“Usage”). Achebe likewise shows the role of males and females in society and how females are designate unimportant functions being guys the power in the Igbo society. The value of speech in the novel is focused on as the author uses Igbo language hence developing a distinct African story. It reveals a picture of Africa prior to colonialism changed it (“Usage”).
In the other hand, Josephs Conrad’s novella acts more as a criticism comparing the civilized and the uncivilized. This shows the power of the white Europeans on their colonization in Africa. As its title, it reveals the darkest side of human beings by cruelty and bigotry. The novella starts in the Nellie at the Thames River when the captain Charlie Marlow begins to tell his stories about how he entered to Africa and his experiences. Marlow has constantly have enthusiasm for maps, checking out and adventure that is what starts his journey to a brand-new and mysterious world; Africa.
Through his stories we see the intricacy of the African jungle and how this location influences the characters. The only thing that inspires and drives Marlow is his desire to fulfill Kurtz, an exceptional and highly regarded agent. Through his experiences we can see the bigotry towards the black individuals and how European colonizers treated them. By the actions of lots of characters we view the ivory smuggling, the aspiration of power and cash and the wicked hidden in the jungle. Therefore it shows darkness behind inhumanity and oppression to others.
How this darkness is so effective that can damage others and the person itself (Conrad). In both novels we see the value of speech. Speech serves as a sign of bigotry and the distance of language. In Things Fall Apart speech is very crucial as Achebe utilizes lgbo words in the book. “By integrating Igbo words, rhythms, language and concepts into an English text about his culture, Achebe goes a long way to bridge a cultural divide” (“Language”). This reveals the complexity of the African culture and the misconception between cultures. In this case being the lgbo culture and the ones of the colonists.
Therefore Achebe’s incorporation of Igbo words makes his unique much more practical because it provides the Africans a voice. It also permits the reader for more information about its culture by comprehending the meaning of these words. We also see how organized and specific the dialect is counting on the guidelines to deal with to people. These words do not make the reading harder however rather they make it more intriguing basing on its context and how they are utilized. Also these words are crucial for the novel since if they are translated to English they might lose their concept. To offer a genuine feel for lgbo culture would be impossible without also allowing sayings to play a considerable role in the novel” (“Language”). We can see how oral is necessary for the culture as there is plenty interaction. In lgbo people messages are brought orally; stories, tunes and tales distinguished households and basically the whole culture relies on oral custom, never losing the originality of their dialect. It also proves how this culture is much more complicated than it appears as there are many different languages within the 9 villages.
It demonstrates how 2 cultures come together as the book being composed in English however never ever losing the lgbo words. This also represents how specific elements of cultures are never going to be understood due to the fact that they are too complex for each other. Achebe plays with words thoroughly and enables readers to feel part in the story as these words play an importance in the emotions of the reader. “Achebe’s intro of brand-new kinds and language into a traditional (Western) narrative structure to interact unique African experiences permanently altered the definition of world literature” (“Language”).
In contrast, in the novella Heart of Darkness speech is represented as silent. Silence marks the distance between the white colonizers and the African. Conrad is not providing speech to the Africans but rather marking the big area of the misconception of cultures. “Here, the human is perceived to have no language, only a physical space and the surrounding nature support this with the muting darkness and unknowing silence along the riverbanks” (Lerch). This is a significant concern because without speaking there is no understanding or knowledge. Language enables people to learn from each other, communication is basic.
This boundary leads to know people only by their physical when it comes to the natives, among the significant reasons for stereotypes and bigotry. “Speech unexpectedly showed inadequate for Conrad’s function of letting the European look the offensive sculpting in their hearts” (Achebe). This serves as a sign of power and superiority from part of the colonizers that can speak and hold the control. Locals are not offered voice, opinion or the right to express themselves. The crash of cultures brings conflicts to the both sides as any of them understand each other’s language.
There is a consistent missing of sound and only the sound of darkness fills it up. Even though speech is quiet in the natives, it plays an important and reliable role in the story and characters in the novella. From the starting the history is told from Marlow’s stories and experiences that he’s informing to the other members of the Nellie. “In western society, silence is something to be filled. “Language is a euphemism, a conserving life for all the Europeans” (Lerch). Marlow’s interaction types part of the Chinese box technique that is the story inside another story.
His expressions, detailed descriptions, images and feelings transport us to the past, to the heart of darkness. Speech according to characters is seen in numerous ways, from much insufficient speak. This represents the personal value of speech for each character and how it differs depending on the personality and interest of the character. For example speech in Kurtz is represented as insanity due to the fact that of the absence of understanding and isolating from society (“Heart”). However it is positively as it is the link Kurtz has with the locals that is what brings him closer to them and for that reason being recognized as the leader of the jungle.
In addition, this 2 novels utilize speech as an important and important element but they represent different things. As Eric Parslow said, race is a lazy mind’s tool for determining culture. In both books racism is a theme that stands apart. Racism is represented differently and is used to discuss main concerns discovered in both books. Lots of critics speak about if in the unique Things Break down there is bigotry or not. I personally think racism is not discovered in this unique however rather is misinterpreted as Chinua Achebe is criticizing mankind and the inhuman actions done by colonizers to people of Africa.
The Igbo culture in his novel is shown to the reader before colonization occurs. This helps the reader to have a better understanding on the result of colonization and how it can tear cultures apart, by pieces. By the arrival of white colonizers in town we see how Achebe wants to point the Europeans desire of ambition, conquest, violence and bigotry towards the African cultures. Societies are torn apart and colonizers think they have the power to erase their culture foundation and implement theirs. “The westerners tool the structures of the indigenous individuals’s society and ways of living and left them with absolutely nothing.
They also began “reformation of the local’s minds, by appointing the mark of the unfavorable to everything African and the favorable to whatever European” (“Things”). Achebe’s novel is in fact a write back to Conrad as the bigotry and ruthlessness he found on the novel. Achebe wants the reader to see the other perspective from the side of the natives. Therefore, he is revealing things as they were and those descriptions and actions may be viewed as racist. There is a quote in the book that states: “The white male is foolish, he is fit to be a servant” (Ward).
This quote is racist nevertheless you can’t state the entire book is racist due to the fact that of one quote. In order for an unique to be racist, the whole book requires to show this. In contrast Conrad’s novella Heart of Darkness is still being much critiqued as Africa is portrayed as a primitive location where much bigotry and violence is held towards the locals (“Things”). This novel portrays the other side of the story, the perspective from Marlow, a white European. By this we can see how Africa is seen as a various world where the locals are uncivilized and lack intelligence. We are accustomed to consider the shackled type of a dominated beast, however there you might look at a thing monstrous and complimentary” (Achebe). Conrad through the character Marlow uses words as black, monsters, uncivilized to refer to the locals. Although Conrad’s descriptions, imagery, metaphors and similes are really powerful and descriptive some are racist versus the natives. The arrival of the Europeans show the power they have and how they believe they can claim for resources and the land that is not there’s.
As stated in the past, silence withstands in the novella as natives have no speech signifying the misunderstanding of cultures. “The result is seen in western author’s postcolonial literature by deceptiveness of unknown groups of individuals as savages or primitive. When in reality the author has no understanding of the group of individuals existing” (“Things”). As said before locals of Africa in Conrad’s novella are depicted as uncivilized individuals, being this a paradox. The colonizers are not civilized due to the fact that of the dreadful and racist actions they perform.
Due to the intricacy of the space they are surrounded they lose their morals. The jungle is a character due to its power to alter people. This is also the reason the colonizers altered and ended up being the uncivilized ones because of their aspiration for power. For that reason, Conrad’s novella can be thought about as racist however it is very essential to remember that the story is distinguished the opposite. As Bob Dylan stated “Do not slam what you can’t understand.” Both of these books are important for literature in the world. Every one has different objectives and messages.
Distinctions depends on the context and point of view they are being informed. Things Fall Apart and Heart of Darkness handle the big style of colonization. What’s fascinating about them is that we can see both sides of the story and by this kind our criteria. I think it is extremely important to see the 2 faces of a problem in order to understand it. Nevertheless, I think about that you can fully understand something if you have actually lived it. A person will constantly have his opinion towards something but will never ever truly understand it. To slam a book, that individual should have belonged to the story and the context that is being informed.
Therefore we can’t state Heart of Darkness or Things Break down is racist if we have not experienced colonization because context. Both authors are showing readers the viewpoint from which is being informed, so that the reader can have both sides of the story and form their criteria about the intricate style of colonization on the people of Africa. Functions Cited Achebe, Chinua. “A Picture of Africa: Racism in Conrad’s ‘Heart of Darkness'” Massachusetts Evaluation. 18. 1977. Rpt. in Heart of Darkness, A Reliable Text, background and Sources Criticism. 1961. 3rd ed. Ed. Robert Kimbrough, London: W.
W Norton and Co., 1988, pp. 251-261 “Comparing Things Fall Apart and Heart of Darkness.” 123HelpMe. com. 20 Oct 2012 <. Conrad, Joseph."Heart of Darkness." The Norton Anthology: English Literature. General Ed. Stephen Greenblatt. 8th Ed. New York City: Norton, 2006. 1891-1947. "Heart of Darkness Theme of Language and Communication." Shmoop. N. p., n. d. Web. 21 Oct. 2012. <. LaRocque, Emma."Racism and Colonization." Aboriginal