Beliefs In Joseph Conrad's Heart Of Darkness And Barbara Kingsolver

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Are mankind immutable and resistant to outside influences? Such a question has been an enduring theme explored by authors in literature. Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness and Barbara Kingsolver’s The Poisonwood Bible, while written nearly 100 years apart, are both about white people entering Africa, a new surrounding characterized as culturally foreign and strange. However, Conrad and Kingsolver have opposing opinions about how people’s traits can be shaped by their surroundings. Whereas Conrad believes that a person’s persona can be altered by his or her cultural surroundings, Kingsolver believes that people are ultimately immutable. Through Charles Marlow’s growing disillusionment and pessimism, Conrad exemplifies his belief in the power of one’s surroundings. Meanwhile, Kingsolver refutes Conrad’s belief by delineating Nathan and Leah Price’s as static characters.
In Heart of Darkness, Conrad details the impact of one’s surroundings by portraying Marlow’s growing disillusionment and misanthropy formed by the futility of the world he perceives through the culture within the Company’s men. Marlow describes a childhood “‘passion for maps [and the] glories of exploration’” (Conrad 5). Marlow’s passion is representative of a romantic view of the world, one of swashbuckling adventure and exciting discoveries. Such a view is common among the innocent young, who has yet to experience the harsh reality of society hands on, so it is logical for the young Marlow, who has yet to

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