Heart of Darkness vs Seasons of Migrations to the North

Heart of Darkness, Chinua Achebe, Postcolonialism

“Place and displacement are crucial features of post-colonial discourse.” (Bill Ashcroft et al , The Post-Colonial Studies Reader). Explore the ways in which ‘place’ in its broadest sense affects both colonial and post-colonial writing in ‘The Heart of Darkness’ and ‘Season of Migration to the North’.

In this essay, I will be discussing how place shapes individuals and their identity. The geographical location in both novellas focuses on the northern and southern hemisphere divide between Europe and Africa. This fits in with the colonial history that occurred in that particular time period whereby Africa was colonised by England. ‘Heart of Darkness’ is a novel based on the times of colonisation and ‘Season of Migration to the North’ is based on post-colonialism. In that sense, Africa and England somewhat reflect each other due to the certain similarities and differences that both cultures imbibe which puts forward the concept of alterity. Moreover, place has a symbolic underlying meaning which is identified through the identity of characters. Marlow and the unnamed narrator are ultimate characters in both novellas who are in search for the true identity of Kurtz and Saeed. They follow a quest that turns in to waste when they realise the ghastly nature of the truth that appals them. This reflects the high ideas of colonialism being meaningless and being filled with corruption and deceit. The symbolism in these novellas are supported by moral and psychological views that are exerted throughout. Alienation is a key concept in the novellas as they symbolise dislocation. To reveal the consequences of displacement, Conrad implemented evident racism and Salih employed misogyny that later on created criticisms.

The idea of control represents both continents in these novels. Europe seemed to have a dominant control over Africa and because of this Europeans attempted to impose their failed morals upon the Africans. Both novellas portray Africa to be a very...
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