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The Portrayals of Imperialism in "Things Fall Apart" and "Heart of Darkness"

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The portrayals of imperialism in Things Fall Apart and Heart of Darkness contrast significantly. As Joseph Conrad portrays expansionism as a rough power deconstructing the people of savages and brutes. As opposed to Chinua Achebe delineates imperialism as a savage power deconstructing a refined and a culture of age.In things fall apart language is an essential component. It gives them a sense of identity and safeguards their way of life and legacy. Though this is an important factor,this was also their fall. As they decline to send their kids to class to learn english.While Igbo culture venerates power and manliness, Okonkwo’s conduct is hyper masculine, showing itself through rampaged.

Okonkwo is know as “a man of action, a man of war” Where as the town of Umuofia is adaptable and negotiable. Huge numbers of the characteristics which to Okonkwo were signs of shortcoming are similar characteristics that were regarded by people. For example, despite the fact that Umuofia’s laws are clear, the people “can adapt their code to accommodate the less successful, even effeminate men, like Okonkwo’s father” , showing Umuofia’s resilience where Okonkwo could never acknowledge such “weakness.”Also, where Okonkwo is impervious to change, Umuofia is more open and responsive, as later exhibited by Umuofia’s response to the evangelists in contrast with Okonkwo’s. Making Okonkwo an outcast from the rest.

Once the missionaries come to Umuofia, Okonkwo is totally unwilling to bargain. Truth be told, “He mourned for the clan, which he saw breaking up and falling apart, and he mourned for the warlike men of Umuofia, who had so unaccountably become soft like women”. He sees the group’s efforts to co-existence concerning and weak since it does not take an active role in eliminating what he perceives as a threat. When stood up to the messenger, Okonkwo slaughters him with expectations of beginning a war against the missionaries, but instead the town rallies against him,as they asked, “For what reason did he do it?”

The fall of Igbo culture and the fall of Okonkwo can’t just be credited to their strong belief system and rooted cultural heritage. The point of Things Fall Apart is to investigate the defects of Igbo culture and additionally its qualities. Despite the fact that Achebe presents these defects to the reader that add to the decimation of their way of life; the principle explanation behind the fall of the Igbo was caused by their inability and hesitance to learn English since they trusted that they will never need to apply it in their regular day to day existences.

Likewise, the westerners were more grounded than the Igbo with respect to their advancement in current life and training, they had a more grounded impact and in addition controlling force.The preachers utilised a hostile methodology in taking over the decision forces of Igbo from its locals. They did this by spreading their beliefs and in the meantime taking apart Igbo conventional traditions and conviction of the people. Hence, the missionaries were particularly superior to Igbo just as the author explains.The westerners considered Igbo as unrefined people in need of their assistance. In spite of the fact that the intention of the entry of missionaries in Umuofia was to administer over its kin.

Due to the colonisation, Igbo lost the majority of the qualities that integrated them as one; social intelligibility between the individual and society was lost, combined with their customary qualities and lifestyle.The entry of white preachers in Umuofia was to control over Igbo decisions as Igbo are a humane society they were clueless of the white men’s aims, they invited them into their territory and furthermore gave them a bit of their property not realizing that these men will be the reason for the fall of their way of life.In this way Okonkwo’s suicide is representative of the destruction of the clan, he was an image of the power and pride that the clan had and with its destruction, the clan’s ethical focus and structure gave way to a more dominant one. With his demise, the old lifestyle is gone until the end of time.

Conrad’s Heart of Darkness which is set in the thick, ‘dark’ and strange wildernesses encompassing the Congo River. In the article “An Image of Africa” Achebe extremely scrutinises the presumptions presented by such “explorers” and censures the depiction of Africans in Heart of Darkness. Achebe rejects the long held belief of the alternate commentators who name the novel as a post-colonial novel since he thinks that it displayed a picture of Africa that was living in the Westerners minds. Achebe likewise discredits Conrad’s delineation of Africa as “a place of triumphant bestiality which functions as a ‘foil’ for an enlightened Europe”, and strikes back at Conrad’s utilization of ‘racist’ terms in depicting the African locals and what he thinks about a purposeful utilization of the narratives, which features the contrasts between the ‘whites’ and the ‘blacks’.

Achebe shows such bigotry and debasing depiction, where Conrad gives uncommon portrayals of an African who is displayed as”he savage who was fireman. He was an improved specimen”Achebe sees that Heart of Darkness “projects the image of Africa as ‘the other world’ the antithesis of Europe and, therefore, of civilization, a place where man’s vaunted intelligence and refinement are finally mocked by triumphant bestiality”.He thinks that Conrad’s picture of the Africans is that of a crude and undeveloped country, since they are set in a dull and an ancient setting.As Marlow’s portrayal expels recognising attributes,like the depiction of the Africans themselves. Rather, the Africans are simply copies of one another who fill no other need than to be a piece of the landscape for the Europeans.

Heart of Darkness outlines the European thoughts that all Africans are the same: savage, crude, and brutal. To contrast this generalization, Achebe composed Things Fall Apart, demonstrating a cultivated and organized African culture. Tragically, the hero of Things Fall Apart was not an exact portrayal of an enlightened African. However, since he was a conspicuous individual from the society, as opposed to annihilate the stereotype, his fierce conduct and unwillingness to yield just reinforces the European’s beliefs about the locals.

Thus, through both works of Achebe we see how he expects the writer to be both cultural nationalist but also explain the tradition of the people of Africa. As in argues in the Essay “I am talking about a book which parades in the most vulgar fashion prejudices and insults from which a section of man kind has suffered untold agonies” because the African people did hear of culture for the first time from the west: that their societies were not mindless but frequently had a philosophy of great depth,value and dignity. The dignity that many African people had lost in the colonial period and it is this dignity that they must regain now. This is what I think is the most significant statement he made.

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The Portrayals of Imperialism in “Things Fall Apart” and “Heart of Darkness”. (2020, January 15). GradesFixer. Retrieved September 22, 2021, from
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