Dr. Thomas Laughlin
Tuesday, November 22, 2016
Colonization Gone Wrong
We see the disruptive actions colonization imposed in both “Heart of Darkness” by Joseph Conrad and “Things Fall Apart” by Chinua Achebe. Though each book has different perspectives they both seem to highlight how colonization generated greed, negativity towards natives and exploitation of land. Both authors educate their readers on the truths behind civilization in hopes of not repeating the past.
The novel, “Heart of Darkness” was written in the middle of a contradictory world that imperialism was welding together. Conrad writes as an employee of imperialism with a strange undertone due to English being his third language. The narrator Marlowe, begins to describe nature’s response to colonization, “Nature herself had tried to ward off intruders; in and out of rivers, streams of death in life, whose banks were rotting into mud, whose waters, thickened into slime, invaded the contorted mangroves that seemed to writhe at us in the extremity of an impotent despair (Conrad 21). Here readers see the French settlers trying to colonize land and ironically referring to the natives as enemies when they are the real intruders. This passage displays how nature tries to push away negativity through the motions of the sea. Conrad seems to use words like “rotting” and “slime” to highlight the true money grubbing monsters that ride along the river. The words used to describe nature become quite dark, “streams of death in life” perhaps; Conrad is trying to illustrate what greed has turned these “civilized” men into. Rather then educating and enhancing the progress of the natives, they exploit and imprison them for their own colonial gain. Conrad illustrates how nature itself will not welcome settlers who are eager to mistreat the environment they are living on.
Throughout the fame narrative the idea of status and power remained desirable for both settlers and citizens of developed countries. The importance of flaunting your wealth became a trend amongst the rich, “The word ivory would ring in the air for a while—and on we went again into the silence, along empty reaches, round the still bends, between the high walls of our winding way, reverberating in hollow claps the ponderous beat of the stern-wheel” (Conrad 56). It is no surprise that this passage uses gloomy words such as, “empty” and “hollow”. Ivory has no logical use, but can be used to show a wealthy status, which makes the act of damaging elephants inhumane and wasteful. The people, who exploit these animals and their consumers, seem to desire the recognition of superiority to fulfill their empty hearts. The struggle for power and control becomes competitive during Imperialism, as greed grows their humanity deteriorates. Their hearts become hollow because they no longer see the truth behind the production of their valuables. With a melancholy undertone, Conrad successfully expresses to readers that...