Colonization and Wealth in Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness and Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart

1627 Words7 Pages
Colonization and Views on Wealth in Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness and Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart The novels Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad and Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe share a common theme; both deal with the colonization of Africa by settlers from Europe. When one examines the motives for this imperialist attitude in each book, one notices that in both books the motivation for colonization revolves around the gaining of wealth. However Conrad and Achebe define wealth differently. In Heart of Darkness the Europeans view wealth economically, such as the trading of ivory. In Things Fall Apart the idea of wealth is viewed by Europeans as belonging to and spreading the European culture and religion. Despite these…show more content…
You would think they were praying to it” (Conrad 39). Marlow’s words demonstrate the colonists’ love of ivory and shows that it has been elevated in importance almost to a position of a god. From this extreme want of the ivory, one can say that ivory is wealth in the minds of the settlers in Heart of Darkness. As stated above, the main reason for colonization of Africa is for the settlers to gain wealth. However, each type of society can define wealth in different ways. In Heart of Darkness wealth was ivory, but in the book Things Fall Apart one can see that the settlers define wealth as the degree to which their religion is accepted by the Africans. This is evident when Mr. Smith says, “He saw the world as a battlefield in which the children of light were locked in mortal conflict with the sons of darkness” (Achebe 184). From this statement one discovers that Mr. Smith sees his purpose in Africa is to convert the “sons of darkness” into “children of the light.” One can also see that Mr. Smith has adopted a Manichean allegorical view of the members of each of the religions. According to Mr. Smith “The children of the light” are the Christian members and the “sons of darkness” are the Africans who cling to their traditional religion. Using this term to describe the Christians puts a positive light on them, while it also points out
Open Document