Things Fall Apart vs. Heart of Darkness Essay

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African Colonization through Literature: Things Fall Apart Vs. Heart of Darkness

History is an extraordinary mix of truth and fiction. The dichotomy that is bred from different historic al perspectives opens the eyes of those who study history to the semi-fabricated nature of much of humanities past. For most of recorded history, events have been recorded and retold through the eyes of the victors. Only recently have people had the opportunity to view both sides of issues. The Western practice of free speech has allowed both victors and victims to tell their tal es. A glimmering example of differences in historical opinion pertains to the colonization of Africa by Europeans. For years the commonly accepted notion about Africa was
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European explorers found vast amounts of natural resources like ivory, tea and minerals. These discoveries set off the infamous “Scramble for Africa” in which European countries rushed to colonize their “slice of Africa.” Europeans justified their imperialistic ways with the belief that they were doing a service to the indigenous populations and that it was their duty to spread their superior ways. This belief is best exemplified by the poem The White Man’s Burden by Rudyard Kipling. The poem was written as a result of the United States takeover of the Philippines. Therefore it does not directly pertain to the colonization of Africa but the same mindset that lead to the American occupation of the Philippines caused the European rape of Africa. In the poem the term “white man’s burden is a symbol of imperialism. Kipling is literally describing Western expansion as an onus of necessity that is charged to the “white man.” The poet continues by urging the white man to “fill full the mouth of famine and bid the sickness cease.” This passage demonstrates two things. First, the belief that “famine” and “sickness” were prevalent in other cultures and, second, that the white man had the capabilities to solve these afflictions. The previous two extracts from the poem give the impression that Westerners believed that other people in the world were helpless and that they would struggle to survive without the intervention of the Western world.
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