Things Fall Apart by Chinu Achebe

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Chinu Achebe’s Things Fall Apart is a novel that contrasts sharply to Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. In Conrad’s Heart Of Darkness he presents Africa in a very bad light and as an uncivilized country. In contrast, Achebe’s Things Fall Apart is a story about civilized Africa and their traditions. In Conrad’s Heart Of Darkness he justifies the slave trade and slavery. Achebe, on the other hand, represents African culture and customs and his people’s history by reclaiming the “images” of Africa that Conrad constructs in Heart Of Darkness. Conrad views Africa as a population that lacks knowledge about culture and religion. Achebe takes responsibility for speaking about his people and their culture. Things Fall Apart and Heart Of Darkness both examine the importance of cultural influence and treat other cultures and their people in different ways.

Culture is viewed as a part of people’s life. Culture can be defined as shared human patterns or ways of living. In many cultures some things are considered good and in some cultures they might be viewed as bad or evil. In Things Fall Apart Ibo culture considers the arrival of twins as a curse so the Ibo abandon them in the evil forest and leave them to die. They also believe in many gods. Ibo people have various gods who they worship. When missionaries arrive in Umofia, they discover that their religious beliefs are different than one another. Mr. Brown goes to Akunne’s house to preach to him and they both sit and talk about their different beliefs. This shows that we can learn a lot from our fellow humans even if our beliefs are not the same. “ Neither of them succeeded in converting the other but they learned more about their different beliefs” Achebe (P179). In Conrad’s Heart Of Darkness, Marlow doesn’t understand the strange night ceremony he follows Kurtz to, and other traditions the natives have. He thinks of the natives as evil and wants to save Kurtz from them instead of getting to know them as Kurtz...
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