Heart Of Darkness Apocalypse Now Things Fall Apart And Sequel Research Paper

Length: 4 pages Sources: 3 Subject: Literature Type: Research Paper Paper: #26819785 Related Topics: Heart Of Darkness, Tell Tale Heart, Things Fall Apart, Imperialism
Excerpt from Research Paper :

Euro v Afro Centric Perspectives

The unfolding of events can be told from a variety of perspectives that are highly influenced by an individual's background and personal prejudices. Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad and Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe provide two distinct and polar perspectives. Heart of Darkness, and consequently the film adaptation Apocalypse Now, directed by Francis Ford Coppola, provides an Anglo-centric perspective on colonialism and imperialism, whereas Things Fall Apart provides an Afro-centric account of the events that transpire.

Heart of Darkness, published in 1899, follows Charles Marlow as he sets out to meet Mr. Kurtz, a smart and successful ivory trader who has established residency and taken over a village at Central Station. Conrad creates a very imperialistic character through Kurtz. Like many imperialistic countries that sought to expand their territories for political and financial gain, Kurtz seeks out to explore as much of Congo for personal gain. Kurtz asks, "What was he doing? exploring or what?," to which a response of "Oh, yes, of course,' he had discovered lots of villages, a lake, too -- he did not know exactly in what direction; it was dangerous to inquire too much -- but mostly his expeditions had been for ivory…'To speak plainly, he raided the country" (Conrad 31). In this regard, Kurtz's attitude is very European in the way that he unabashedly explores unknown regions without any regard for who or what he may encounter. The effects of imperialism can best be described by Marlow who comments, "The conquest of the earth, which mostly means taking it away from those who have a different complexion or slightly flatter noses than ourselves, is not a pretty thing when you look into it too much" (5). Kurtz's attitude reflects the imperialist attitudes of Europeans, who throughout history, were obsessed with expanding their empires in order to demonstrate they had

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Paradoxically, Marlow argues Kurtz's family background is one of the reasons he was successful in taking over the Central Station and establishing his relationship with the natives. Marlow comments, "[Kurtz's] mother was half-English, his father was half-French. All Europe contributed to the making of Kurtz; and by I learned that, most appropriately, the International Society for the Suppression of Savage Customs had entrusted him with the making of a report, for its future guidance" (25).

Heart of Darkness is also very Euro-centric in the way that it depicts how Africans and their customs are perceived by Marlow and other "civilized" men in the novella. In Heart of Darkness, Marlow perceives his ship's crewmen to be uncivilized and savage. In the novella, Marlow appears to look down on Africans and frequently refers to them as savages. Furthermore, Marlow judges them based on their appearance and customs as opposed to their character. For instance, Marlow appears to judge the cannibal that was the fireman on his ship and refers to savage/uncivilized nature. Marlow comments the savage fireman, "had filed teeth, too, the poor devil, and the wool of his pate shaved into queer patterns, and three ornamental scars on each of his cheek" (Conrad 13). Moreover, Marlow comments this "savage" was "useful because he had been instructed; and what he knew was this -- that should the water in that transparent thing disappear, the evil spirit inside the boiler would get angry through the greatness of his thirst, and take a terrible vengeance" (14). Furthermore, by alluding to religion, such as describing the cannibal as a "poor devil" and pointing out he believed there was an "evil spirit inside the boiler," Marlow insinuates that some of the savagery attributed to the natives was due to the fact that they were not Christian.

The 1979 film adaptation Apocalypse Now successfully translates Conrad's tale into a contemporary setting without losing the novella's original intended message. Like Heart of Darkness, Apocalypse Now is told from the perspective of those conquering the natives, however, in this case, the setting is shifted to Cambodia…

Sources Used in Documents:

Works Cited

Achebe, Chinua. Things Fall Apart. 1958. Web. Accessed 15 November 2012, from l-adam-

mekler.com/things-fall-apart.pdf.

"The Age of Imperialism." Accessed 28 October 2012, from blue.wths.net/faculty/bertola/Imperialism.ppt

Apocalypse Now. Directed by Francis Ford Coppola. United States: United Artists, 1979. DVD.


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