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Essay on The Collision of Beliefs in Things Fall Apart

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No one likes to be told how to live. In the book Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe, missionaries came to Africa to teach the natives a new way of life, Christianity. The natives had lived one way their entire life, and enacted their beliefs whole-heartedly. European missionaries wanted to convert them from these ways. Each group of people had a difficulties communicating with each other; this caused a type of ignorance towards the other. Joseph Conrad did an adequate job portraying the views of Europeans in his novel Heart of Darkness and why they felt they needed to be in Africa. The traditions and beliefs in these two novels caused a major separation between the natives and whites; could this have caused more damage than good?
What does it mean to be uncivilized? Uncivilized means:
–verb (used with object), -lized, -liz•ing. to bring out of a savage, uneducated, or rude state; make civil; elevate in social and private life; enlighten; refine: Rome civilized the barbarians. (Dictionary.com)
The Europeans had this common belief that Africa needed to be civilized. As I read through these books I felt that the Europeans thought they were helping the Africans become civilized through Christianity. Ones definition of civilization depends on their point of view. Joseph Conrad shows how the white man viewed the natives in his word choice, he states in his book;
‘Instantly, in the emptiness of the landscape, a cry arose whose shrillness pierced the still air like a sharp arrow flying strait to the very heart of the land; and, as if by enchantment, streams of human beings-of naked human beings – with spears in their hands, with bows, with shields, with wild glances and savage movements, were poured into the c...


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...where he is at, but instead his translator scrambles the words and the natives burn the church. This demonstrates the lack of communication skills between each other with dire consequences.
In conclusion, the Europeans thought that they were in the right trying to bring Christianity to Africa, but in reality it caused more unhappiness for the natives. The Europeans had a dimensioning effect on Africa. Darkness can be associated with ignorance, hence the title Heart of Darkness. Because of this ignorance, things literally fall apart for the natives of Africa, thus the title Things Fall Apart.



Works Cited

Achebe, Chinua. Things Fall Apart. 1st. New York: Anchor Books, 1959. Print.

Conrad, Joseph. Heart of Darkness. New York, NY: Penguin Group, 1950. Print.

"Racism in Conrad's Heart of Darkness." An Image of Africa. New York, NY: 1989. Print


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