Critical Review - Heart of Darkness and Things Fall Apart

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Critical Review - Heart of Darkness and Things Fall Apart

By | April 2012
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One World, Two Stories

Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness” and Achebe’s “Things Fall Apart” are two significant and well-known works treating colonialism in Africa. When reading these two stories, one cannot help but realize that though the two authors are making two separate points about two groups, Africans and Europeans, they both have somewhat of the same theme. In Achebe’s “Things Fall Apart” and Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness”, the theme seems to be acceptance. Both main characters, Okonkwo and Marlow, change their behaviors based on their surroundings and on what they feel like they need to be or do in order to be accepted in their communities. In Achebe’s “Things Fall Apart”, the two main characters that I found to be the most relevant in the story were Okonkwo and Obierika. Okonkwo is the main character of this story. He is very headstrong and rational and he believes that showing compassion and kindness is a weakness. This is because his father showed these two attributes a lot - he was a poor man who borrowed a lot of money from other villagers and was never able to pay them back. Because of this, his family had to undergo many days without anything to eat or drink. Furthermore, Okonkwo’s father was a strong believer in talking, a great flute player, and he became very uneasy at the sign of blood. All of these attributes Okonkwo saw in his father he deemed as weak and a sign of not succeeding in life. He follows the traditions and customs of his people without any question of why things are done a certain way. In Achebe’s novel, Okonkwo mainly serves as a way to give the reader insights into the complicated social system of the Nigerian society. The second character that I chose from Achebe’s novel was Obierika. Obierika is Okonkwo’s closest friend and confidant. This surprised me because they are the total opposite of each other. Although he is nothing like Okonkwo’s father, Obierika is definitely a lot kinder and thoughtful. He is not afraid of questioning...