Homework Help - Question & Answer

By Student

Can you explain and discuss how the theme of resistance in relation to politics, religion, parents, etc.) in Heart of Darkness by Conrad, Things Fall Apart by Achebe, and Purple Hibiscus by Adichie?


By PD Tutor
Best Answer

In order to really understand resistance in Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, it is important to look at all of the characters and not just the highlighted European males, such as the protagonist Marlowe, that sit at the center of the story.  That is because resistance is the undercurrent behind all of the action in the story.  The main characters are always acting against the threat of resistance by the African people who are often portrayed as victims, but are consistently offering resistance to the colonizers, as evidenced by the arrow attack by the natives on the ship.  In addition, the women in the story are often portrayed as victims, but both the Mistress and the Intended offer subtle resistance to the paths that would be determined by their station, race, and the men in their lives.

In Achebe’s Things Fall Apart, Okonkwo’s resistance is very nuanced.  Initially, he is depicted as being completely faithful to his tribe’s expectations, in part to repent for his father’s bad behavior.  However, when he beats his youngest wife during a week of peace, he challenges all of the tribe’s ideals and immediately regrets it and wants to avoid the negative consequences. Therefore, when resistance is important and Ikemefuna is trying to get him to save his life, Okonkwo is too cowardly to resist.  However, he is the one who stands up against the colonizers/missionaries, and he is surprised that his clansmen do not join him; even in resistance, Okonkwo cannot seem to align himself with the norms of his community.

Interestingly, religion in Purple Hibiscus is both a sign of conformity and a sign of resistance.  The way that Papa Eugene practices his Catholic faith, which with violence and heightened religiosity reflects an adoption of the methods used by those who colonized the area.  In contrast, while Aunty Ifeoma also embraced Christianity, she actually uses it to resist the controls that colonialism and the patriarchal attitudes that accompanied it, would have placed on women. 

Part of this answer is hidden
Sign Up To View Full Answer

View all Students Questions & Answers and unlimited Study Documents