African Culture

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Category: Literature

Date Submitted: 09/19/2012 03:19 PM

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Controversial Viewpoints on African Cultures

During the nineteen century African literature had been portrayed in many different styles by English novelist. One of the writer was joseph Conrad in the novel Heart of Darkness he tlaks about the Congo region. Though his aim was to describe Africa with his viewpoints as of an outsider he was title as racists, by Chinua Achebe. There have been several critics of African literature, which state that the main reason of Achebe to be a writer was to re paint the true image of Africa misleaded by English novelists. He wrote the book Things Fall Apart describing the Northern Nigeria and Igbo clan. He wrote this novel to counter react to Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. In my paper I will discuss whether or not Achebe’s statements are justified. I will be talking about the differences in the two texts, and how it builds on answer the above question. Also, I will talk about the Eurocentric vs. the Afro-centric perspective in representing African, African culture, African people.

I will first start with Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. Conrad was highly astonished and shocked by his six month stay in Congo in 1890. He could not understand the inhuman and brutal manner of Belgians to exploit African colony. Thus he state:

“The conquest of the earth, which mostly means the taking it away from those who have a different complexion or slightly flatter noses than ourselves, is not a pretty thing when you look into it too much. What redeems it is the idea only. An idea at the back of it; not a sentimental pretense but an idea; and an unselfish belief in the idea."

In describing the process, Conrad take a one dimensional view point, hence states his plot with a Eurocentric view point. In the beginning of the novel, it’s not talk directly about the African, but African people. Continent becomes the background of the narrative, giving a Eurocentric perspective. Conrad’s approaches’ a photographer technique and chooses the background...