Contrasting Conflict in Things Assignment

Contrasting Conflict in Things Assignment Words: 629

Both novels depict European imperialism in the African Congo in the 18005. The obvious distinction between the two is that Heart of Darkness tells a tale from he European point of view while Things Fall Apart tells one from the Native African Tribe point Of view. Both authors use extremely well developed characters to manifest and exhibit controversies and bring to light critical aspects of human nature and propensity. Both authors use conflict of various types to ascertain an overall theme.

Although the novels use similar settings in the expression of their ideas, the underlying themes Conrad and Achebe choose to focus on are very different. Chiefly, the ultimate conflict in Heart of Darkness is one of Man vs.. Himself, while the ultimate conflict in Things Fall Apart is one of Man vs.. Man. To begin, both Conrad and Achebe wish to make statements on the negative consequences of Imperialism with their novels, but choose to emphasize completely unrelated and extremely different issues.

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In Heart of Darkness, the conflict has to do with the destructive consequences of the self-discovery and internal turmoil that goes with segregation from society in an untamed, ruthless, savage place such as the African Congo. Years of life in the jungle rove the brilliant Kurt to near insanity: “the wilderness had found him out early, and had taken on him a terrible vengeance for the fantastic invasion. Think it had whispered things to him about himself which he did not know, things of which he had no conception till he took council with this great solitude” (98).

For Marrow, the dark and hollow core inside himself and all mankind is also exposed during his conquest into the unfamiliar land, and he too comes very close to being pushed into insanity by his realizations: “The most you can hope from it is mom knowledge of yourself that comes too late a crop of inextinguishable regrets… Since had peeped over the edge myself, I understand better the meaning of his stare… He had made that last stride, he had stepped over the edge, while I had been permitted to draw back my hesitating foot” (119).

Obviously, Conrad chose to focus his novel not on the conflicts that arise between people in societies that try to impose on each other, but rather how a new environment and point of view can lead to self; discovery and internal conflict within oneself. On the other hand, Achebe’s obvious focus was on the falling apart of a culture that can occur with a more powerful culture’s abrupt influence. He emphasizes throughout his novel many directly contrasting aspects of European society and the Bio people, and the conflict this causes both between the two group and among the Bio people themselves.

As the wise Breaks observes, “he [the white man] has put a knife on the things that hold us [the Bio people] together and we have fallen apart”. The use of the words he and we implies that the conflict exists between individuals; between whites and blacks, Europeans and natives, livers and non-believers, loyalists and traitors. More specifically, one can observe the trials of the two novels’ main characters.

Both main characters are tragic heroes and develop such dreadful internal conflict that in the end both are led to destruction, this conflict is rooted very differently for each of them. In Heart of Darkness, inner station manager Kurt is found by Marrow in a state of essential insanity; an intellectual and economic genius turned delusional, raving, fanatical, and savage. As Marrow explains, Quartz’s “intelligence was perfectly clear and incinerated, it is true, upon himself with horrible intensity, yet clear; his soul was mad.

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