What Do You Find Interesting in the Way the Heart of Darkness (Joseph Conrad)and Things Fall Apart (Chinua Achebe) Portray African People and Society and the Impact of Europeans on the Africans

What do you find interesting in the way the two novels portray African people?

“Heart of Darkness” was written by Joseph Conrad. It is a semi-biographical description of a journey taken by a European through the African continent. The journey described relates to a real life experience on Conrad’s part of travelling up the Congo River. Though the novel never directly names the setting it is most obviously the Congo and the unnamed European country is undoubtedly Belgium. The novel delves into an Africa at the end of the 19th century and portrays the impact of the west on the continent. This main theme is shared by Chinua Achebe’s “Things Fall Apart” which, like “Heart of Darkness”, explores the effect of Europe on Africa. However unlike “Heart of Darkness” the setting is more assured by the novel as the Ibo heartland which was taken by the British as an eastern province of Nigeria.
Another contrast is the view points of the characters both novels are written from. “Heart of Darkness” is written from the point of view of a western man, Marlow. Marlow is by his task/job an example of a European colonist however we immediately see that there is a different aspect to his character. The character of Marlow is an outsider to the rest of the colonists. Marlow’s character looks at the natives and the continent with a fascination but also a fear as it is so savage and strange that he cannot comprehend it. He says that he “could not understand, because we were too far and could not remember, because we were travelling in the night of first ages, of those ages that are gone, leaving hardly a sign – and no memories.” “Things Fall Apart” however is written from the point of view of a native within the country. The character Okonkwo is, throughout the novel, becoming aware of the changes within his society due to the influences of Europeans and the “new” religion, Christianity.
Conrad’s “heart of Darkness” has always been a hot topic of debate. The novel has been debated...